It has recently been shown that antithrombin III (AT) distributes between plasma, a noncirculating vascular-associated pool and an extravascular pool in rabbit. Study of the in vivo behavior of autologous human 131I-AT demonstrates that in humans AT also distributes among three pools that are analogous to those found in rabbit. From the in vivo kinetic behavior of the 131I-labeled AT, the fractions of total-body AT in the plasma, noncirculating vascular- associated, and extravascular pools were calculated to be 0.393 +/- 0.015, 0.109 +/- 0.016, and 0.496 +/- 0.014, respectively. From three- exponential plasma radioactivity disappearance curves, an average plasma fractional catabolic rate, j3, of 0.576 +/- 0.034 day-1 was obtained for five healthy young men. This is almost identical to the result obtained if plasma 131I-AT disappearance is assumed to fit a two- exponential curve (0.546 +/- 0.038), where the constant C2 from *Ap(t) = C1e-a1t + C2e-a2t is assumed to be equal to 1 - C1. The fraction of the total vascular AT catabolized daily, j3.5, was calculated to be 0.457 +/- 0.034, and the fractional catabolic rate of total-body AT, jT, averaged 0.2271 +/- 0.0176. The results give further support to a model of in vivo behavior in which the vascular AT distributes between plasma and an endothelial receptor. Thus, the latter may serve to mediate activation of AT for its reaction with coagulation proteases and to mediate its entrance into the endothelial cell, where it is either transported to the extravascular fluids or is catabolized.