The aim of this study was to investigate the expression of platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) ligands A and B and receptors alpha and beta in cerebral arteriovenous and cavernous malformations. Fifteen arteriovenous malformation (AVM) and 15 cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM) tissue samples were immunostained for PDGF ligands A and B. PDGF receptors (PDGFR) alpha and beta, and vascular endothelial growth factor. Tissues were compared in terms of expression levels within various vascular layers, and the results were confirmed using western blotting. AVM had higher levels of PDGF-A expression than CCM (p = 0.004, 0.009, 0.001, and 0.027, for endothelium, media, adventitia, and perilesional tissue, respectively) and western blotting showed that there was higher expression of PDGFR-alpha in AVM tissues. In contrast, CCM endothelium, media, and adventitia had higher PDGF-B expression compared with AVM (p = 0.007, 0.001, and 0.039, respectively). PDGFR-beta expression was also significantly higher in the endothelium of CCM tissue (p = 0.007). Overexpression of PDGF ligands and receptors in AVM and CCM may mean that therapeutic strategies targeting the PDGF pathway could be useful in the treatment of these two malformations. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.