Platelet adhesion and thrombus formation on subendothelium, studied at a shear rate of 2,600 s-1, were inhibited by two synthetic peptides known to interact with GPIIb-IIIa. One peptide (HHLGGAKQAGDV) corresponds to the carboxyl terminal segment of the fibrinogen gamma-chain (gamma 400-411) and the other (RGDS) contains the amino acid sequence Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) common to fibronectin, von Willebrand factor, vitronectin and the alpha-chain of fibrinogen. Neither platelet adhesion nor thrombus formation were decreased in a patient with severe congenital fibrinogen deficiency and this was equally true when his blood was further depleted of the small amounts of fibrinogen present utilizing an anti-fibrinogen antibody. In normal subjects, adhesion and thrombus formation were inhibited by the Fab' fragments of a monoclonal anti-GPIIb-IIIa antibody (LJ-CP8), which interferes with the interaction of platelets with all four adhesive proteins in both the fluid and solid phase. However, another anti-GPIIb-IIIa antibody (LJ-P5) that had minimal effects on the interaction of platelets with fibrinogen, but inhibited to varying degrees platelet interaction with other adhesive proteins, was equally effective. The findings demonstrate that, at a shear rate of 2,600 s-1, adhesive proteins other than fibrinogen are involved in GPIIb-IIIa-mediated platelet adhesion and thrombus formation on subendothelium. In addition, since LJ-P5 inhibited the binding of soluble von Willebrand factor and vitronectin, these adhesive proteins may be involved in platelet thrombus formation. In contrast to the results obtained at a shear rate of 2,600 s-1, fibrinogen could play a role in mediating platelet-platelet interactions with weak agonists or lower shear rates.