Recent studies suggest a crucial role for plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) in mediating stress-induced hypercoagulability and thrombosis. However, the mechanisms by which PAI-1 is released by stress are not well-delineated. Here, we examined catecholaminergic neurosecretory cells for expression, trafficking, and release of PAI-1. PAI-1 was prominently expressed in PC12 pheochromocytoma cells and bovine adrenomedullary chromaffin cells as detected by Northern blotting, Western blotting, and specific PAI-1 ELISA. Sucrose gradient fractionation studies and immunoelectron microscopy demonstrated localization of PAI-1 to catecholamine storage vesicles. Secretogogue stimulation resulted in corelease of PAI-1 with catecholamines. Parallel increases in plasma PAI-1 and catecholamines were observed in response to acute sympathoadrenal activation by restraint stress in mice in vivo. Reverse fibrin zymography demonstrated free PAI-1 in cellular releasates. Detection of high molecular weight complexes by Western blotting, consistent with PAI-1 complexed with t-PA, as well as bands consistent with cleaved PAI-1, suggested that active PAI-1 was present. Modulation of PAI-1 levels by incubating PC12 cells with anti-PAI-1 IgG caused a marked decrease in nicotine-mediated catecholamine release. In summary, PAI-1 is expressed in chromaffin cells, sorted into the regulated pathway of secretion (into catecholamine storage vesicles), and coreleased, by exocytosis, with catecholamines in response to secretogogues.