Fucoidan, a sulfated polysaccharide extracted from brown seaweeds, has antithrombotic properties, the mechanism of which is not yet completely understood. Tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI), which regulates the tissue factor-dependent pathway of blood coagulation, is released from the endothelium by heparin, a mechanism contributing to its antithrombotic activity. In this study, we demonstrated that fucoidan, as heparin, induces TFPI release from cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC). The TFPI accumulation in the HUVEC supernatants depends on the incubation time and polysaccharide concentration. After 30 to 60 minutes of incubation, TFPI concentration (total antigen level) was twice higher in the presence of both polysaccharides than in their absence. After one hour of incubation, in the presence of increasing concentrations of each polysaccharide, an optimal stimulation was observed for 0.5 microg/ml of fucoidan and 5 microg/ml of heparin, as evidenced by a raise of the basal TFPI level: a 2-fold increase for the total antigen and a 3-fold increase for the free antigen. These data suggest that TFPI released from vascular endothelial cells may contribute to the antithrombotic effect of fucoidan.