Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) is a C-C chemokine thought to play a major role in recruiting monocytes to the atheroselerotic plaque. Tissue factor (TF), the initiator of coagulation, is found in the atherosclerotic plaque, macrophages, and human aortic smooth muscle cells (SMC). The exposure of TF during plaque rupture likely induces acute thrombosis, leading to myocardial infarction and stroke. This report demonstrates that MCP-1 induces the accumulation of TF mRNA and protein in SMC and in THP-1 myelomonocytic leukemia cells. MCP-1 also induces TF activity on the surface of human SMC. The induction of TF by MCP-1 in SMC is inhibited by pertussis toxin, suggesting that the SMC MCP-1 receptor is coupled to a G1-protein. Chelation of intracellular calcium and inhibition of protein kinase C block the induction of TF by MCP-1, suggesting that in SMC it is mediated by activation of phospholipase C. SMC bind MCP-1 with a K(d) similar to that previously reported for macrophages. However, mRNA encoding the macrophage MCP-1 receptors, CCR2A and B, is not present in SMC, indicating that they possess a distinct MCP-1 receptor. These data suggest that in addition to being a chemoattractant, MCP-1 may have a procoagulant function and raise the possibility of an autocrine pathway in which MCP-1, secreted by SMC and macrophages, induces TF activity in these same cells.