The effects of polylysine on human platelets have been examined in citrated platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and in suspensions of washed platelets in various media. In PRP, polylysine caused aggregation after a lag phase. Heparin inhibited this completely. At certain concentrations of polylysine, two phases of aggregation occurred, the second being associated with release of 14C-serotonin from prelabelled platelets; this phase was inhibitable with prostaglandin E1, acetylsalicylic acid, sulphinpyrazone, adenosine, apyrase, or creatine phos- phate/creatine phosphokinase. Polylysine-induced release also occurred in PRP with EDTA or hirudin as anticoagulant. In suspensions of washed platelets in Tyrode solution containing 0.35% or 4% albumin, or 1% gelatin, polylysine caused immediate platelet-to-platelet adherence and very little release of 14C-serotonin or platelet lysis. Heparin inhibited aggregation, but acetylsalicylic acid, prostaglandin E1, adenosine, apyrase, creatine phosphate/creatine phosphokinase or EDTA did not. In a modified Tyrode-albumin medium containing 1 mM magnesium but no calcium, polylysine-induced aggregation was associated with the release of 14C-serotonin which could be inhibited by acetylsalicylic acid or indomethacin; this is similar to the effect of ADP in this medium. In Tyrode solution without albumin or gelatin, polylysine-induced platelet aggregation was associated with release of a large percentage of 14C-serotonin, together with as much as 18% lysis; indomethacin inhibited this release reaction.