Human umbilical vein endothelial cells in tissue culture were irradiated with doses between 0 and 40 Gy, and the released von Willebrand (vW) protein and that which remained associated with the cells was quantitated. Doses of 20 Gy and higher produced a statistically significant increase in amount of vW protein secreted. This release was present whether the cells were labeled continuously throughout the experiment or just prelabeled before irradiation. An increase in fibronectin secretion was not observed. The release response to radiation was slow, reaching significance close to 24 hours after irradiation. The release of vW protein was not due to cell lysis, because the secreted vW protein contained very little of the large 260- kilodalton vW precursor subunit present in cell lysates and the cells appeared intact by immunofluorescence staining.