Various n-formylated peptides function as receptor-specific chemoattractants for both granulocytes and monocytes. Because these agents are important tools in the study of leukocyte function in vitro, we chose to examine their effects on leukocyte procoagulant activity. The synthetic chemotactic peptide N-formyl-methionyl-leucyl phenylalanine (FMLP) induces a fourfold increase in procoagulant activity (PCA) in cultured human monocytes at an optimal dose of 5 X 10(-9) mol/L, whereas higher doses inhibit PCA response. Although nonadherent lymphocytes are not absolutely required for PCA expression, their presence significantly amplifies monocyte PCA. Irradiation of nonadherent lymphocytes before mixing them with FMLP and adherent cells abolishes their ability to amplify PCA. Kinetic studies demonstrate an increase in optimal dose FMLP-stimulated PCA over time whereas high- dose inhibition of PCA generation occurs at various incubation times. Cell viability is unaffected by inhibitory concentrations of FMLP. Supernates from high-dose FMLP-stimulated cells fail to inhibit later expression of PCA by cells exposed to endotoxin. The cellular procoagulant remains cell-bound and exhibits characteristics of thromboplastin (tissue factor), including inhibition by concanavalin A and phospholipase C as well as the ability to shorten the clotting times of factor VIII but not factor VII-deficient substrate plasmas. These results suggest a complex system of lymphoid cell regulation of procoagulant generation by monocytes exposed to various chemotactic peptides in vitro.