Diabetes and aging are commonly accompanied by arterio- and atherosclerosis. Infiltration of the arterial subendothelial intima by macrophages/monocytes is an important early event preceding the development of atheromatous lesions; these macrophages are known to produce mitogenic factors in early atherosclerotic lesions. It has been previously shown that, over time, vascular matrix accumulates proteins nonenzymatically modified by advanced glycosylation end products (AGEs). In view of the fact that macrophages/monocytes have AGE-specific receptors associated with the expression of several growth factors, we investigated the possibility that AGEs mediate initial monocyte-vessel wall interactions that occur before overt formation of vascular lesions. This study demonstrates that (i) in vitro- and in vivo-formed AGEs are chemotactic for human blood monocytes, (ii) sub-endothelial AGEs can selectively induce monocyte migration across an intact endothelial cell monolayer, and (iii) subsequent monocyte interaction with AGE-containing matrix results in the expression of platelet-derived growth factor. These results support the existing hypothesis that in vivo-forming glucose-derived protein adducts can act as signals for the normal turnover of senescent tissue protein by means of the AGE-specific receptor system. Time-dependent glucose-induced deposition of AGEs on matrix proteins may promote monocyte infiltration into the subendothelium. Subsequent AGE-triggered macrophage activation and consequent elaboration of proliferative factors may normally coordinate remodeling but may also lead to the diverse pathogenic changes typical of arterio- and atherosclerosis in diabetic or aging populations.