Human monocytes generate the procoagulant tissue factor (MTF) following exposure to a variety of immune stimuli in vitro. The generation of MTF is modified by T cells, lymphokines, and immunoregulatory lipoproteins, and recent studies have shown that MTF can be activated in an immune- specific manner following exposure to antigen. We have examined the role of serum factors in the regulation of MTF generation. Low concentrations (less than 1%) of heat-inactivated normal human serum greatly enhanced MTF generation in cultures of normal peripheral blood mononuclear cells. The stimulatory effect was observed in cultures of both unstimulated cells and cells exposed to bacterial lipopolysaccharide. Stimulation was not observed at high serum concentrations (greater than 10%) and could not be explained by endotoxin contamination or activation of the assay system. Stimulatory activity was present in plasma and BaSO4-adsorbed plasma as well as autologous and allogeneic serum, was not abolished by removal of serum lipoproteins, and did not require the presence of T cells for its expression. Sera from 28 different normal volunteers were screened for stimulatory activity and demonstrated a wide variation in potency. These results suggest that a potent factor is present in sera that enhances the expression of MTF activity in vitro. This factor is distinct from previously described lipoprotein regulators and may play a role in the initiation of coagulation in both normal hemostasis and pathologic states.