Troglitazone, a novel oral insulin sensitizer, normalizes increased plasma activity of plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1) in hyperinsulinemic patients such as women with polycystic ovary syndrome and patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. However, underlying mechanisms have not yet been fully elucidated. Human hepatic and vascular cells, the main sources of circulating PAI-1, were studied in cell culture. In human hepatic cells, PAI-1 accumulated in conditioned medium by 23% within 24 h after exposure to 3 microg/mL troglitazone (P = 0.001). The accumulation depended on the concentration of troglitazone, but not that of insulin (known to stimulate PAI-1 synthesis). By contrast, in human aortic smooth muscle cells, 3 microg/mL troglitazone decreased basal PAI-1 expression by 23% (P = 0.037) and decreased transforming growth factor-beta-induced expression by 34% (P = 0.026). Concomitant insulin had no effect. Tissue-type plasminogen activator was decreased by 38% (P = 0.002). In human endothelial cells, PAI-1 was diminished by 32% (P < 0.001), whereas tissue-type plasminogen activator was unaffected. The results suggest that the reduction in plasma activity of PAI-1 induced by troglitazone in patients may reflect both directly mediated diminution of its elaboration from vessel walls and indirectly mediated reduction of its hepatic synthesis secondary to attenuation of hyperinsulinemia (known to increase the hepatic synthesis of PAI-1).