Capillary invasion is a vital regulatory signal during bone morphogenesis that is influenced by angiogenic molecules such as fibroblast growth factor (FGF) and some members of the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) superfamily, including TGF-betas themselves. Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), which are members of the TGF-beta superfamily, have previously not been shown to possess direct angiogenic properties. Osteogenic protein-1 (OP-1; BMP-7) is a potent regulator of cartilage and bone differentiation in vivo. The osteogenic and angiogenic properties of OP-1 at both ortho- and heterotopic sites in adult chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) are enhanced synergistically by the simultaneous application of relatively low doses of TGF-beta1. The single application of relatively high doses of TGF-beta1 (20 ng), and bFGF (500 ng) or relatively low (100 ng) and high (1,000 ng) doses of OP-1 in the chick chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) assay elicited a prominent and (for OP-1) dose-dependent angiogenic response. The binary application of a relatively low dose of OP-1 (100 ng) with a relatively low dose of bFGF (100 ng) or with a relatively low (5 ng) or high (20 ng) dose of TGF-beta1 resulted in a synergistic enhancement of the angiogenic response. The angiogenic effect of the relatively low doses of the combined morphogens was distinctly more pronounced than that of the single application of the relatively high doses of the respective factors. The present findings suggest that these morphogens may be deployed in binary combination in order to accentuate experimental angiogenesis. The cooperative interaction of the different morphogens in the CAM assay may provide important biological clues towards the control of clinical angiogenesis.