Human endothelial cells (HEC) suspended in a culture medium containing 20% human serum (CMS) adhere and spread on(to) moderately wettable polymers, such as tissue culture polystyrene (TCPS). We have previously shown that serum derived-fibronectin, which is a cell adhesion promoting protein, has a high affinity for TCPS, but that the amount of fibronectin which adsorbed from CMS was relatively small. In this study we investigated whether fibronectin derived from HEC contributes to the adhesion and spreading of the cells on(to) TCPS. Therefore, HEC were seeded in the presence of fibronectin-depleted CMS. The amount of fibronectin detected on TCPS increased with both cell seeding density and incubation time. Although initial HEC adhesion is delayed on TCPS which had been precoated with albumin (Alb), high density lipoprotein (HDL) or immunoglobulin G(IgG), maximal numbers of adhering and spreading HEC were found on these surfaces 6 h after seeding of HEC. Fibronectin was detected on these surfaces, but an exchange of preadsorbed Alb, HDL, or IgG for fibronectin could not be demonstrated. We conclude that HEC deposit fibronectin onto TCPS, irrespective of the presence of a preadsorbed layer of proteins which delay cell adhesion.