Angiostatin is a potent angiogenesis inhibitor which has been identified as an internal fragment of plasminogen that includes its first four kringle modules. We have recently demonstrated that the anti-endothelial cell proliferative activity of angiostatin is also displayed by the first three kringle structures of plasminogen and marginally so by kringle 4 (Cao, Y., Ji, R.-W., Davidson, D., Schaller, J., Marti, D., Sohndel, S., McCance, S. G., O'Reilly, M. S. , Llinás, M., and Folkman, J. (1996) J. Biol. Chem. 271, 29461-29467). We now report that the kringle 5 fragment of human plasminogen is a specific inhibitor for endothelial cell proliferation. Kringle 5 obtained as a proteolytic fragment of human plasminogen displays potent inhibitory effect on bovine capillary endothelial cells with a half-maximal concentration (ED50) of approximately 50 nM. Thus, kringle 5 would appear to be more potent than angiostatin on inhibition of basic fibroblast growth factor-stimulated capillary endothelial cell proliferation. Appropriately folded recombinant mouse kringle 5 protein, expressed in Escherichia coli, exhibits a comparable inhibitory effect as the proteolytic kringle 5 fragment. Thus, kringle 5 domain of human plasminogen is a novel endothelial inhibitor that is sufficiently potent to block the growth factor-stimulated endothelial cell growth.