alpha2-Macroglobulin (alpha2M) has been identified on the luminal surface of endothelial cells in sections of normal human arteries, veins, and lymphatics by the indirect immunofluorescent technique. The specificity of the immunofluorescent reaction was confirmed by immunoabsorption studies. Prior absorption of the anti-alpha2M antiserum by purified alpha2M at equivalence completely inhibited endothelial surface as well as hepatic parenchymal cell staining. Endothelial cells in blood vessels were not stained when sections were treated with rabbit antisera toward alpha1-antitrypsin, antithrombin III, IgG, IgA, IgM, C3, or fibrinogen. The location of alpha2M at the surface of the vessel wall suggests that this protease inhibitor may protect the vascular endothelium from potentially injurious intravascular proteases.

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