The procoagulant subcellular matrix of stimulated endothelial cells that contains tissue factor (TF) was used to investigate the mechanism by which TF pathway inhibitor (TFPI) inhibits thrombin formation initiated by TF/factor VIIa (FVIIa) under flow conditions. Purified coagulation factors VII, X, and V and prothrombin were perfused at a wall shear rate of 100 s-1 through a flow chamber containing a coverslip covered with matrix of cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells. This resulted in a TF- and FVII-dependent FXa and thrombin generation as measured in the effluent at the outlet of the system. Inhibition of this TF/FVIIa-triggered thrombin formation by TFPI purified from plasma was dependent on the amount of TF present on the endothelial cell matrix. The rate of prothrombinase assembly and steady-state levels of thrombin formation were decreased by TFPI. Because persistent albeit decreased steady-state levels of thrombin formation occurred in the presence of TFPI, we conclude that plasma- TFPI does not inhibit FXa present in the prothrombinase complex. The addition of FIX and FVIII to perfusates containing FVII and FX increased the FXa generation on endothelial matrices, and counteracted the inhibition of thrombin formation on endothelial cell matrices by TFPI. Our data provide further evidence for the hypothesis that the rapid inactivation of TF/FVIIa by TFPI in combination with the absence of either FVIII or FIX causes the bleeding tendency of patients with hemophilia A or B.