Plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1) is a 50-kilodalton glycoprotein of the serine protease inhibitor family. The primary role of PAI-1 in vivo is the inhibition of both tissue- and urokinase-type plasminogen activators. In addition to this function, PAI-1 acts as an acute-phase protein during acute inflammation. PAI-1 is a pivotal player in the pathogenesis of sepsis, a complex clinical syndrome that results from a systemic inflammatory response. In patients with sepsis, the levels of PAI-1 are positively related to poor outcome, increased severity of disease, and increased levels of various cytokines, acute-phase proteins, and coagulation parameters. The 4G/5G insertion/deletion promoter polymorphism, which leads to differences in PAI-1 production, has been demonstrated to affect the risk of developing severe complications and dying from sepsis during meningococcal infection and multiple trauma.