Inflammatory mediators such as prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and interleukin-1 (IL-1) induce angiogenesis by yet undefined mechanisms. We demonstrate that PGE2 and IL-1 induces the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a selective angiogenic factor by rheumatoid synovial fibroblast cells. Transcripts for the EP1 and EP2 subtypes of PGE receptors are expressed in synovial fibroblasts. Activators of protein kinase A pathway stimulated the expression of VEGF whereas down-regulation of protein kinase C did not influence the PGE effect, suggesting that signalling from the EP2 receptor via the protein kinase A pathway is important. The induction of VEGF expression by PGE2 and interleukin-1 alpha may be an important mechanism in inflammatory angiogenesis.