The fibrinolytic activity of cells in culture varied with the type of serum employed in the growth medium. Degradation of iodinated fibrin occurred slowly when Rous sarcoma virus-transformed chick embryo fibroblasts were grown in medium containing fetal bovine serum (FBS), and rapidly when chicken serum was employed. This difference reflected the low plasminogen and high inhibitor content of FBS. The inhibitors were found to be serum macromolecules that were precipitated with ammonium sulfate or polyethylene glycol, and were inactivated by boiling or upon exposure to acidic conditions. No inhibitor activity was detected in fetuin, one of the major proteins present in FBS. Acidified FBS was similar to chicken serum in that both supported high rates of cell-mediated fibrinolytic activity. Although virally transformed hamster, mouse and chicken cells grew well in acid-treated FBS, their normal counterparts did not. Apparently, acifification resulted in the formation of materials that were toxic to normal cells. These agents rapidly blocked cellular DNA synthesis.