Several cytokine families have roles in the development, maintenance, and remodeling of the microcirculation. Of these, the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) family is one of the best studied and one of the most complex. Five VEGF ligand genes and five cell-surface receptor genes are known in the human, and each of these may be transcribed as multiple splice isoforms to generate an extensive family of proteins, many of which are subject to further proteolytic processing. Using the VEGF family as an example, we describe the current knowledge of growth-factor expression, processing, and transport in vivo. Experimental studies and computational simulations are being used to measure and predict the activity of these molecules, and we describe avenues of research that seek to fill the remaining gaps in our understanding of VEGF family behavior.