The adhesion of activated platelets to leukocytes (rosette formation) seems to be mediated by CD62 on platelets and its counter-receptor (CD15 or a sialic acid-containing glycoprotein) on polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNL). However, neither treatment of platelets with an anti-CD62 antibody or fucoidan nor treatment of PMNL with anti-CD15 antibody or neuraminidase are able to inhibit completely the adhesion. Therefore, we have studied the platelet GPIIb/IIIa complex (CD41a) for its involvement in the adhesion of activated platelets to PMNL. The following evidences point to a participation of CD41a in the adhesion of activated platelets to leukocytes: a) inhibition of adhesion by monoclonal antibodies (mab) raised toward CD41a, b) inhibition of adhesion by peptides such as RGDS and echistatin, c) inhibition of adhesion by dissociation of the CD41a complex with EGTA, and d) inhibition of rosette formation using platelets from a thrombasthenic patient which have almost no CD41a in the surface membrane but a normal expression of CD62. It is likely that fibrinogen is involved in the adhesion of platelets to PMNL via CD41a, since fibrinogen increases the rosette formation of ADP-stimulated platelets. Furthermore, the incubation of unstimulated platelets with fibrinogen and an antibody raised against glycoprotein IIIa which stimulates fibrinogen binding to the platelet surface results in an enlarged rosette formation.