Human umbilical vein endothelial cells grown in vitro under standard conditions contain a high level of mRNA specific for the complement regulatory factors H and I. An additional 1.8-kb mRNA encoding a truncated form of factor H is also present. IFN-gamma stimulation of the cells causes a 6-7 fold increase in both factor H mRNA species, and a greater than 10-fold increase in factor I mRNA. IL-1 and LPS slightly suppressed factor H mRNA, while TNF had no effect. mRNA for factor B is also detectable in IFN-gamma-stimulated cells, but messengers for C1q, C4bp, and CR3 beta chain were not found. Secretion of factor H protein was also stimulated by IFN-gamma. The presence of mRNA for factors H, B, and I, together with C3 secretion, demonstrated by others, suggests that endothelial cells can assemble the complete alternative complement pathway. Endothelial cell complement may be involved in leukocyte-endothelium interactions mediated by leukocyte C3 receptors.