Endothelial cells line blood vessels and modulate vascular tone, thrombosis, inflammatory responses and new vessel formation. They are implicated in many disease processes including atherosclerosis and cancer. IGFs play a significant role in the physiology of endothelial cells by promoting migration, tube formation and production of the vasodilator nitric oxide. These actions are mediated by the IGF1 and IGF2/mannose 6-phosphate receptors and are modulated by a family of high-affinity IGF binding proteins. IGFs also increase the number and function of endothelial progenitor cells, which may contribute to protection from atherosclerosis. IGFs promote angiogenesis, and dysregulation of the IGF system may contribute to this process in cancer and eye diseases including retinopathy of prematurity and diabetic retinopathy. In some situations, IGF deficiency appears to contribute to endothelial dysfunction, whereas IGF may be deleterious in others. These differences may be due to tissue-specific endothelial cell phenotypes or IGFs having distinct roles in different phases of vascular disease. Further studies are therefore required to delineate the therapeutic potential of IGF system modulation in pathogenic processes.