At pH9.5 in the presence of 10 mM-Ca2+, human platelet membranes released 22% (167 of 785 nmol) of arachidonic acid that was esterified to phospholipids. With the use of synthetic choline (dinonadecanoyl) and ethanolamine (diheptadecanoyl) phosphoglycerides as internal reference compounds, 115 nmol of the released arachidonic acid was shown to be derived from endogenous breakdown of the phosphatidylethanolamine fraction. Further, the lysophosphatidylethanolamine that was released along with the arachidonic acid was shown virtually to lack fatty aldehydes and to contain a preponderance of fatty acids that have a preference for esterification at the 1-position of naturally occurring phosphatidylethanolamine of human platelets. These findings ruled out plasmalogen phosphatidylethanolamine as the source of the released arachidonic acid. We conclude that diacyl phosphatidylethanolamine was the principal source of arachidonic acid released by human platelet membranes under the conditions described.