Human platelets generate diglyceride within 5 s of exposure to thrombin. Production of diglyceride is transient. 15 s after the addition of thrombin, the levels of diglyceride have increased up to 30-fold, but decrease thereafter. Prior incubation of platelets with 2 mM dibutyryl cyclic AMP prevents both the generation of diglyceride and the secretion of serotonin. Acetylsalicylic acid (100 microgram/ml), which completely inhibits prostaglandin endoperoxide synthesis, does not block diglyceride production and serotonin secretion induced by thrombin. Based on studies examining the incorporation of [3H]arachidonic acid into diglyceride of prelabeled platelets exposed to thrombin, it is concluded that neither phosphatidic acid nor triglyceride is the source of the diglyceride. Phosphatidylinositol appears to be the most likely source, both because its loss of radiolabel is sizable and rapid enough to account for the appearance of radiolabel in diglyceride, and because a phosphatidylinositol-specific phosphodiesterase, described in this report, exists in platelets. The phosphatidylinositol-phosphodiesterase, which produces diglyceride and inositol phosphate, requires Ca+2 and shows optimal activity at pH 7. The enzyme does not act upon phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, or phosphatidylserine.