This study shows that Flu-beta-Ala can reduce the ability of human plasma to inhibit plasmin. This observation was utilized to develop a method for generating detectable fibrinolytic activity in whole human plasma as assessed on a radiolabeled fibrin plate. Plasma was pretreated with Flu-beta-Ala to remove inhibitors of fibrinolysis: then dextran sulfate was added and the mixture was further incubated at 4 degrees C. When normal plasma was treated in this manner, the rate of generation of fibrinolytic activity after 0.75 hr incubation with radiolabeled fibrin was equivalent to that of 35 ng/ml plasmin. The plasminogen dependence of this activity was tested by pretreating plasma with antibodies against plasminogen. The generation of fibrinolytic activity was totally blocked by this treatment, indicating that the observed fibrinolytic activity was plasminogen-dependent. When plasmas deficient in prekallikrein, factor XII, or high-molecular-weight kininogen were treated with Flu-beta-Ala and dextran sulfate, the initial rate of fibrinolytic activity was less than normal. But after 3 hr incubation with radiolabeled fibrin, the rate of fibrinolytic activity in these deficient plasmas approached that of normal plasma. Thus this dextran sulfate-dependent fibrinolytic activity is dependent on factor XII, prekallikrein, and high-molecular-weight kininogen, but the requirement is not absolute.