Studies of proteins that inhibit tissue factor activity have generally been conducted using either an extracted tissue homogenate ("thromboplastin") or tissue factor protein reconstituted into phospholipid vesicles rather than with tissue factor expressed in cell membranes (its physiological environment). In the present study, a human fibroblast cell strain was used to evaluate the effects of lipoprotein associated coagulation inhibitor (LACI), placental anticoagulant protein (PAP), and apolipoprotein A-II (apo A-II) on human tissue factor in cell membranes. LACI was tested from 7.8 to 500 pmol/L on fibroblasts cultured at cell densities ranging from 3,500 to 9,925 cells/well, and caused a progressive inhibition of tissue factor activity. PAP was tested from 3.9 nmol/L to 1 mumol/L at cell densities ranging from 4,500 to 15,400 cells/well and caused up to 83% inhibition of tissue factor activity. Inhibition by these proteins appeared to be influenced by cell density as well as whether the cells were intact or disrupted. Apo A-II, up to 1 mumol/L, did not inhibit the tissue factor activity of intact or disrupted fibroblasts at any cell density examined even though it did inhibit the activity of tissue factor in phospholipid vesicles. Of these inhibitors of tissue factor-dependent activation of factor X, LACI was the most effective in suppressing the generation of factor Xa activity. The effects obtained with apo A-II are clearly dependent on the nature of the tissue factor preparation with which it is tested. The disparity between the inhibitory effect of apo A-II on the activity of tissue factor reconstituted into lipid vesicles and the absence of effect on the activity of tissue factor remaining in cell membranes serves to reemphasize the necessity of reexamining results obtained with model systems using as nearly physiological reagents as possible.