Epithelium repair, crucial for restoration of alveolo-capillary barrier integrity, is orchestrated by various cytokines and growth factors. Among them keratinocyte growth factor plays a pivotal role in both cell proliferation and migration. The urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) system also influences cell migration through proteolysis during epithelial repair. In addition, the complex formed by uPAR-uPA and matrix-bound plasminogen activator inhibitor type-1 (PAI-1) exerts nonproteolytic roles in various cell types. Here we present new evidence about the dual role of PAI-1 under keratinocyte growth factor stimulation using an in vitro repair model of rat alveolar epithelial cells. Besides proteolytic involvement of the uPA system, the availability of matrix-bound-PAI-1 is also required for an efficient healing. An unexpected decrease of healing was shown when PAI-1 activity was blocked. However, the proteolytic action of uPA and plasmin were still required. Moreover, immediately after wounding, PAI-1 was dramatically increased in the newly deposited matrix at the leading edge of wounds. We thus propose a dual role for PAI-1 in epithelial cell wound healing, both as a soluble inhibitor of proteolysis and also as a matrix-bound regulator of cell migration. Matrix-bound PAI-1 could thus be considered as a new member of the matricellular protein family.