Free, biologically active tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) is the main initiator of intravascular fibrinolysis, but little is known about the regulation of active tPA on the organ level. The aim was to investigate if the local availability of active tPA on the organ level depends on the local release rate of tPA or the arterial input of tPA and plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1). Also, we wanted to evaluate if plasma levels predict capacity for endothelial release of fibrinolytic proteins. Invasive perfused-forearm studies were performed in 96 healthy subjects. Local release rates of fibrinolytic proteins were assessed at baseline and during endothelial stimulation. Stimulation by methacholine and desmopressin induced a 6- and 12-fold increase in total tPA release rates, respectively. With increasing local release rates of tPA a gradually closer correlation emerged between the total tPA secretion and the forearm output of active tPA (from r = 0.102, ns to r = 0.85, P < 0.0001). Forearm availability of active tPA was not related to arterial input of either tPA or PAI-1. Release rates and plasma levels of tPA were not correlated. Baseline release rates of active tPA increased to noon. The major determinant for the local availability of active tPA is the capacity of the endothelium to release tPA rather than the arterial input of PAI-1 or tPA. Despite a molar excess of PAI-1, the majority of tPA released during stimulation does not undergo local inactivation. The capacity to release tPA locally cannot be predicted from its plasma concentration.