Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its specific receptors, FLt1/fms, Flk1/KDR and FLt4, play important roles in vasculogenesis, and physiological and pathological angiogenesis. Whether angiogenic growth factors are involved in regulating angiogenic processes during the postpartum involution period (PP) of the rat uterus is unknown. We used immunohistochemistry to analyze the expression levels of VEGF, the fms-like tyrosine kinase 1 (FLt1/fms), the kinase insert domain-containing region 1 (Flk1/KDR), Fms-related tyrosine kinase 4 (FLt4) and vascular endothelial growth inhibitor (VEGI) in the rat uterus during the days 1, 3, 5, 10 and 15 of the PP to determine the temporal and spatial expressions of VEGF and its receptors during the PP. Throughout the PP, cytoplasmic and membrane staining of VEGI, VEGF and their receptors were observed in the lumens, crypts and glandular epithelial cells as well as in connective tissue and vascular endothelial and smooth muscle cells in the endometrium. We found that the intensity of the immunoreactions in the endometrium varied with the morphological changes that occurred during involution. Immunoreactions for VEGI, VEGF and their receptor, Flk1/KDR, in the luminal epithelial cells were stronger than those in the glandular epithelial and stromal cells, particularly during PP 1, 3 and 5, which suggests that these peptides may contribute to re-epithelialization of the endometrium. On the other hand, Flt1/fms immunoreactivity was strong mainly in the stromal cells during the PP. The presence of VEGF and its receptors (FLt1/fms, Flk1/KDR, FLt4) in the stromal cells and blood vessels during the PP suggests that they may contribute to regulating stromal repair and angiogenesis in the involuting uterus of the rat.