Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) is the main inhibitor of tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA) and urokinase-type plasminogen activator (u-PA) and therefore plays an important role in the plasminogen/plasmin system. PAI-1 is involved in a variety of cardiovascular diseases (mainly through inhibition of t-PA) as well as in cell migration and tumor development (mainly through inhibition of u-PA and interaction with vitronectin). PAI-1 is a unique member of the serpin superfamily, exhibiting particular unique conformational and functional properties. Since its involvement in various biological and pathophysiological processes PAI-1 has been the subject of many in vivo studies in mouse models. We briefly discuss structural and physiological differences between human and mouse PAI-1 that should be taken into account prior to extrapolation of data obtained in mouse models to the human situation. The current review provides an overview of the various models, with a focus on cardiovascular disease and cancer, using wild-type mice or genetically modified mice, either deficient in PAI-1 or overexpressing different variants of PAI-1.