Endostatin is a potent endogenous inhibitor of angiogenesis that was recently shown to be stored in platelets and released in response to thrombin, but not ADP. In the present study, we have tested the hypothesis that thrombin-induced endostatin release from rat platelets is mediated via proteinase-activated receptor-4 (PAR4). Immunoprecipitation and Western blotting confirmed that endostatin is contained within rat platelets. Aggregation and release of endostatin could be elicited by thrombin (0.5 - 1.0 U ml(-1)) or by specific PAR4 agonist (AYPGKF-NH(2); AY-NH(2); 15 - 50 microM). Significant release of endostatin could be induced by a dose of thrombin below that necessary for induction of aggregation. An adenosine diphosphate (ADP) scavenger, apyrase, inhibited the platelet aggregation induced by thrombin, but not the release of endostatin. In contrast, a selective PAR4 antagonist (trans-cinnamoyl-YPGKF-NH(2); tcY-NH(2)) prevented endostatin release and aggregation induced by thrombin or by AY-NH(2). We conclude that thrombin-induced endostatin release from rat platelets is PAR4-mediated via an ADP-independent mechanism that can occur independently of platelet aggregation.