BACKGROUNDIdentification of the genes and pathways associated with the activation of endothelial cells (ECs) could help uncover the role of ECs in wound healing, vascular permeability, blood brain barrier function, angiogenesis, diabetic retinopathy, atherosclerosis, psoriasis, and growth of solid tumors.DESIGNHerein, we embedded ECs in 3D type I collagen gel, left unstimulated or stimulated with VEGF165, and subjected to suppression subtractive hybridization followed by differential display (SSHDD). Gene fragments obtained from SSHDD were subjected to DNA sequence analysis. Database search with nucleotide sequence were performed using the BLAST algorithm and expression of candidate genes determined by northern blot analysis.RESULTSA total of approximately 32 cDNA fragments, including known regulators of angiogenesis, and a set of genes that were not reported to be associated with activation of ECs and angiogenesis previously were identified. We confirmed the mRNA expression of KDR, alpha2 integrin, Stanniocalcin, including a set of 11 candidate genes. Western immunoblotting results indicated that KDR, alpha2 integrin, MMP-1, MMP-2, and VE-cadherin genes were indeed active genes.CONCLUSIONWe have identified a set of 11 VEGF-responsive endothelial cell candidate genes. Their expression in endothelial cell is confirmed by northern blot analyses. This preliminary report forms as a foundation for functional studies to be performed to reveal their roles in EC activation and pathophysiological events associated with the vasculature including tumor growth.