Sublytic doses of purified C5b6, C7, C8 and C9 induce the release of thromboxane B2 (TXB2) in human platelets. In the present study, we attempted to analyze the signal by which C5b-9 triggers the prostanoid synthesis in platelets. TXB2 release was accompanied by liberation of Ca++ from intracellular stores. Influx of Ca++ was not observed, indicating that C5b-9 did not form a channel large enough to permit passage of Ca++ ions. Therefore, channel formation is apparently not required for cell stimulation.