Antithrombotic effect of recombinant human thrombomodulin in mice, both in vitro and in vivo, was studied. The soluble recombinant human thrombomodulin was expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells and purified from the conditioned medium by a modification of the conventional method. Recombinant thrombomodulin prolonged thrombin clotting time for mouse plasma in a dose-dependent manner. Thrombin was injected into the lateral tail vein of mice and caused acute thromboembolism. All mice injected with thrombin died of thromboembolism; however, preinjection with recombinant human thrombomodulin neutralized the lethal effect of thrombin in a concentration-dependent manner. Histologic examination showed that fibrin deposits were found in all large and small arteries in the lung from mice injected with thrombin; however, fibrin deposits were not detected in any large arteries from the mouse preinjected with thrombomodulin.