The effect of the common lipid moiety of bacterial LPS on secretion from washed human platelets has been studied. The lipid A-rich LPS of S. minnesota R595 and a lipid A preparation both potentiated platelet serotonin secretion in response to IgG aggregates or immune complexes up to 50-fold but had little effect in the absence of IgG. Lipid A has been shown to bind immune aggregates, raising the possibility that its mechanism of action involved effective enlargement or insolubilization of the aggregates. IgG aggregates of dimer to tetramer size were shown to be platelet simuli, equivalent on a weight basis to larger soluble aggregates. The effect of both sizes of aggregates on platelets were equally enhanced by the LPS, indicating that increased size of aggregates alone could not account for the effect of LPS. Similarly, because lipid A-rich LPS enhanced platelet response to already insoluble immune complexes, its mechanism of action cannot simply be insolubilization of immune aggregates. These LPS did not enhance platelet stimulation by antiplatelet antibody, monosodium urate crystals, or thrombin and only slightly enhanced stimulation by insoluble human skin collagen. This indicates some stimulus specificity in the ability of LPS to increase platelet secretion. The enhancement of cell response to immune complexes by the common lipid region of LPS may represent a mechanism for the diverse effects of LPS in vivo and in vitro.