In an attempt to elucidate the mechanism of fibrinolytic enhancement by orally administered urokinase, studies on the intestinal transport of urokinase were carried out, using 125I-labeled human high mol wt urokinase, administered intraduodenally in the experimental dog model with a saphenous vein thrombus. Using the plasma sample obtained from blood 45 minutes after intraduodenal administration of the urokinase, protein fractions were isolated by a sequential two-step affinity chromatography method, first with [N alpha-(epsilon-aminocaproyl)-DL- homoarginine hexylester]-Sepharose followed by a specific anti-human low mol wt urokinase rabbit IgG-Sepharose (adsorbed-eluted and unadsorbed). Each of the isolated protein fractions was further purified by gel filtration on Sephacryl S-300. The proteins isolated by the two-step affinity chromatography method were transported human urokinase with radioactivity in the adsorbed-eluted fraction, and newly synthesized and/or released dog plasminogen activators, probably urokinase-type and tissue-activator type, without radioactivity. In an antibody quenching assay, dog urokinase and the immuno-affinity unadsorbed fraction were not neutralized, but the immuno-affinity adsorbed-eluted fraction was completely neutralized by the specific anti-urokinase IgG antibody. Proteins isolated from control plasma (after administration of saline) by the two-step affinity chromatography method in the unadsorbed fraction had negligible amounts of activator activity. In these studies, we were able to show that synthesis of plasminogen activators was stimulated, with the activators being released, from either the liver or the vascular endothelium. Also we showed that urokinase is transported across the intestinal tract in the dog model.