Hemodynamic forces such as fluid shear stress have been shown to modulate the activity of an expanding family of genes involved in vessel wall homeostasis and the pathogenesis of vascular disease. We have investigated the effect of shear stress on tissue factor (TF) gene expression in human endothelial cells (ECs) and in a rat arterial model of occlusion. As measured by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, exposure of ECs to 1.5 N/m2 shear stress resulted in a time-dependent induction of endogenous TF transcripts of over 5-fold. Transient transfection of TF promoter mutants into cultured ECs suggests the involvement of the transcription factor Egr-1 in mediating the response of the TF promoter to shear stress. To address the importance of flow induction of Egr-1 in vivo, we have established a flow-restricted rat arterial model and determined the level of expressed Egr-1 and TF at the site of restricted flow using immunohistochemistry. We report an increase in the level of Egr-1 and TF protein in ECs expressed at the site of restricted flow. Elevated expression of Egr-1 and TF is restricted to a highly localized area, as evidenced by the fact that no significant increase in level can be detected at arterial sites distal to the site of occlusion. These findings suggest a direct role for Egr-1 in flow-mediated induction of TF and further substantiate the importance of shear stress as a modulator of vascular endothelial gene function in vivo.