Abstract Basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), a growth factor for many cell types including newborn rat astroglial cells, stimulates in a dose-dependent fashion the release of plasminogen activators (PAs) by these cells as measured by the fibrin-overlay method or the Coleman and Green's colorimetric assay. This effect of bFGF on PAs secretion (about 4.5-fold increase at 40 ng/ml bFGF) does not result from an aspecific stimulation of protein secretion by astrocytes and is only partly correlated with the mitogenic activity of bFGF. bFGF was also tested on two clonal glioma cell lines (C6 and LN18). Only one of those cell types (LN18) showed a stimulated PA release in the presence of bFGF. These data are discussed with respect to the putative roles of plasminogen activators in the developing nervous system.