The major part of von Willebrand factor (vWf) synthesized in cultured endothelial cells is secreted constitutively without stimulation and consists of all multimeric forms of vWf. In contrast, stimulation with secretagogues such as thrombin results in the release of vWf from the storage pool, the Weibel-Palade bodies which contain only the largest, most biologically potent multimeric forms of vWf. We wished to determine whether the signal for release of vWf might also function as a signal for replenishment of the vWf by enhancing de novo biosynthesis and if replenishment of the vWf storage pool involved a diversion of newly synthesized vWf from the constitutive pathway to the regulated pathway. vWf mRNA and protein levels in unstimulated human umbilical vein endothelial cells were compared with cells that were briefly stimulated with 1 U/mL thrombin for 15 minutes and then incubated without thrombin for periods up to 72 hours. A comparison was also made between unstimulated cells and cells continuously exposed to thrombin for up to 48 hours. Thrombin stimulation, brief or continuous, had no significant effect on subsequent biosynthesis of vWf protein or vWf- specific mRNA. Since thrombin releases vWf only from the storage pool, we examined the possibility of diversion of newly synthesized vWf from the constitutive pathway to the regulated pathway. Cells were pulse- labeled, incubated for 15 minutes with and without thrombin, chased for various periods in unlabeled media, and briefly restimulated with thrombin. No significant redistribution of vWf between the two pathways was observed as a result of thrombin stimulation for the time periods tested.