Increased plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1) levels are observed in endothelial cells stimulated by tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha). Thiazolidinediones (TZDs) may inhibit elevated endothelial cell PAI-1 accounting, in part, for the putative atheroprotective effects of TZDs. In an endothelial cell line, Rosiglitazone (RG) and Pioglitazone (PG) inhibited induction of PAI-1 by TNFalpha. The specific peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma) inhibitor, SR-202, failed to modulate this effect. RG also inhibited the effect of TNFalpha on a reporter gene construct harbouring the proximal PAI-1 promoter and PAI-1 mRNA in cells co-transfected with a dominant-negative PPARgamma construct. RG and PG attenuated TNFalpha-mediated induction of trans-acting factor(s) Nur77/Nurr1 and binding of nuclear proteins (NP) to the cis-acting element (NBRE). SR-202 failed to modulate these effects. The observations suggest TZDs inhibit TNFalpha-mediated PAI-1 induction independent of inducible PPARgamma activation and this may involve in the modulation of Nur77/Nurr1 expression and NP binding to the PAI-1 NBRE.