BACKGROUND. Chimeric molecules comprising the A-chain of tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA) and the catalytic domain of urokinase-type plasminogen activator (u-PA) have intact enzymatic characteristics of u-PA, partial fibrin-binding properties of t-PA, and thrombolytic properties in animal models comparable with but not superior to those of single-chain u-PA (scu-PA). Deletion of the finger and growth factor domains (t-PA-delta FE/scu-PA-e) in such chimeras further reduces their affinity for fibrin. METHODS AND RESULTS. A detailed investigation of the thrombolytic potency and the pharmacokinetics of t-PA and u-PA chimeras was performed in quantitative animal models for thrombolysis. In hamsters with pulmonary embolism, in rabbits with jugular vein thrombosis, and in baboons with femoral vein thrombosis, the thrombolytic potency (percent lysis per milligram of compound administered per kilogram of body weight) of t-PA-delta FE/scu-PA-e was significantly higher than that of recombinant scu-PA (rscu-PA, Saruplase) as shown by a maximal rate of 720 +/- 170% versus 45 +/- 5% lysis per milligram of compound per kilogram of body weight (mean +/- SEM, p less than 0.01) in hamsters, 210 +/- 18% versus 49 +/- 3% lysis per milligram of compound per kilogram of body weight (mean +/- SEM, p less than 0.01) in rabbits, and 310 +/- 73% versus 90 +/- 0.3% lysis per milligram of compound per kilogram of body weight (p less than 0.01) in baboons. However, the specific thrombolytic activity (percent lysis per microgram per milliliter steady-state plasma antigen level) of t-PA-delta FE/scu-PA-e was not significantly different from that of rscu-PA in hamsters (210 +/- 57% versus 160 +/- 27% lysis per microgram per milliliter antigen level) and was lower than that of rscu-PA in rabbits (37 +/- 4% versus 130 +/- 5% lysis per microgram per milliliter antigen level; p less than 0.01). In dogs with a combined femoral vein blood clot and a platelet-rich femoral arterial eversion graft thrombosis, 0.25 mg/kg body wt bolus injections of t-PA-delta FE/scu-PA-e produced significantly more venous clot lysis (90 +/- 5%, n = 10) than 0.25 mg/kg rscu-PA (26 +/- 3%, n = 10) (p less than 0.001) and, at the arterial side, more frequent (10 of 10 dogs versus three of 10 dogs) and more persistent (six of 10 dogs versus none of 10 dogs) recanalization (p = 0.002). After bolus injection in hamsters, rabbits, or baboons, t-PA-delta FE/scu-PA-e had a fourfold to sixfold longer initial half-life than rscu-PA and a slower plasma clearance of sixfold in hamsters, 10-fold in rabbits, and more than 10-fold in baboons. CONCLUSIONS. These results indicate that t-PA-delta FE/scu-PA-e has a markedly enhanced thrombolytic potency toward venous and arterial thrombi caused by a delayed in vivo clearance with relatively maintained specific thrombolytic activity. These properties suggest that the chimera may be clinically useful for thrombolytic therapy by bolus administration in patients with thromboembolic disease.