The murine VEGF gene is alternatively transcribed to yield the VEGF(120), VEGF(164), and VEGF(188) isoforms, which differ in their potential to bind to heparan sulfate and neuropilin-1 and to stimulate endothelial growth. Here, their role in retinal vascular development was studied in mice selectively expressing single isoforms. VEGF(164/164) mice were normal, healthy, and had normal retinal angiogenesis. In contrast, VEGF(120/120) mice exhibited severe defects in vascular outgrowth and patterning, whereas VEGF(188/188) mice displayed normal venular outgrowth but impaired arterial development. It is noteworthy that neuropilin-1, a receptor for VEGF(164), was predominantly expressed in retinal arterioles. These findings reveal distinct roles of the various VEGF isoforms in vascular patterning and arterial development in the retina.