Both fibrin and tissue macrophages are prominent in the histopathology of chronic inflammatory pulmonary disease. We therefore examined the procoagulant activity of freshly lavaged human alveolar macrophages in vitro. Intact macrophages (5 X 10(5) cells) from 13 healthy volunteers promoted clotting of whole plasma in a mean of 65 s. Macrophage procoagulant activity was at least partially independent of exogenous Factor VII as judged by a mean clotting time of 99 s in Factor VII-deficient plasma and by neutralization of procoagulant activity by an antibody to Factor VII. Immunoprecipitation of extracts of macrophages metabolically labeled with [35S]methionine by Factor VII antibody and analyzed by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis revealed a labeled protein consistent in size with the known molecular weight of blood Factor VII, 48,000. The addition of 50 micrograms of unlabeled, purified Factor VII blocked recovery of the 48,000-mol wt protein. In addition, supernatants of cultured macrophages from six normal volunteers had Factor X-activating activity that was suppressed an average of 71% after culture in the presence of 50 microM coumadin or entirely by the Factor VII antibody indicating that Factor VII synthesized by the cell was biologically active. Endotoxin in vitro induced increases in cellular tissue factor but had no consistent effect on macrophage Factor VII activity. We also examined the tissue factor and Factor VII activities of freshly lavaged alveolar cells from nine subjects with clinical and/or histologic evidence of sarcoidosis. Four of the nine subjects expressed increased tissue factor and seven of nine had increased Factor VII activity over the normal range (P less than 0.01). We estimate the mean Factor VII associated with the cells of sarcoid patients to be 4.7 ng/10(6) cells (range 0.4-20) as compared to a mean of 0.74 ng/10(6) cells (range 0.2-2) for that of normal subjects. Along with previous data showing synthesis of plasminogen activator, these findings indicate that human alveolar macrophages normally synthesize and express measurable amounts of the initial enzymes of proteolytic reactions regulating both fibrin deposition and fibrin resorption. Abnormalities in Factor VII activity in a small group of patients with sarcoidosis raise the possibility that modulation of fibrin turnover by macrophages may contribute to the pathology of this and perhaps other interstitial lung diseases.