The biosynthesis of fibrinogen increased at least eightfold in primary hepatocytes when incubated in the presence of monocyte/macrophage-derived hepatocyte stimulating factor (HSF). The large increase in fibrinogen production is due to increased availability of the mRNAs for the protein since cytodot analysis of cellular RNA showed a 10-12-fold increase in each of the fibrinogen mRNAs. Pulse-chase experiments showed that the time for fibrinogen synthesis, assembly, and secretion was 40-50 min for both control and stimulating conditions. This indicates that the increased production was due principally to the presence of greater amounts of fibrinogen mRNA rather than translation or secretion-specific events. Three lines of evidence indicate that the increase in fibrinogen production was due to HSF effects on transcription: (a) analysis of cytoplasmic levels of each of the fibrinogen mRNAs showed that all three increased at the same rate and to the same extent, demonstrating that HSF affects the three gene products coordinately; (b) Northern gel analysis of cytoplasmic RNA isolated after very brief exposures to HSF showed increases in a large molecular weight fibrinogen RNA precursor; and (c) actinomycin D blocked the HSF-stimulated increase in fibrinogen mRNA species. Furthermore, experiments in which protein synthesis was inhibited by cycloheximide failed to inhibit the increase in fibrinogen mRNAs, indicating new protein synthesis is not required for the HSF stimulation of fibrinogen mRNA. These results are consistent with our hypothesis that HSF is exerting its control of fibrinogen at the level of gene transcription.