Host response plays a major role in the pathogenesis of Helicobacter pylori-induced gastroduodenal disease including adenocarcinoma of the distal stomach. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is an important modulator of gastric mucosal repair and is overexpressed in gastric cancer. The present study sought to evaluate the expression of VEGF in the gastric mucosa of H. pylori-infected and H. pylori-non-infected dyspeptic patients. Fifteen H. pylori-infected and 15 H. pylori-non-infected dyspeptic patients were studied. Diagnosis of H. pylori infection was based on rapid urease test and histology. VEGF protein expression was assessed by western blotting. VEGF mRNA expression was assessed by RT-PCR. VEGF localization in the gastric mucosa and neo-angiogenesis were determined by immunohistochemistry. VEGF protein and mRNA expression was significantly greater in H. pylori-infected than in non-infected patients. Immunohistochemistry showed that VEGF expression was more intense in the gastric gland compartment of H. pylori-infected mucosa than in the non-infected mucosa. The increase in VEGF expression was associated with a significant increase in neo-angiogenesis as assessed by determination of CD34-positive micro-vessels. H. pylori gastritis is therefore associated with up-regulation of VEGF expression, which parallels the increased formation of blood vessels in the gastric mucosa. It is postulated that increased VEGF expression and neo-angiogenesis may contribute to H. pylori-related gastric carcinogenesis.