We report a study on the importance of factor IX activation in thromboplastin-dependent coagulation in plasma. Diluted, CaCl2-containing thromboplastin solutions at constant phospholipid concentration were used to trigger the coagulation in plasma from patients with congenital factor IX and factor VIII deñciency in the presence and absence of added factors IX and VIII, and the generation of thrombin activity was monitored. When coagulation is triggered with the high thromboplastin concentrations normally used in clinical routine tests, the generation of thrombin activity in plasma of patients with congenital factor IX deficiency before and after reconstitution with purified factor IX appears identical. When, however, coagulation is triggered with low thromboplastin concentrations, a clear dependency of the generation of thrombin activity on the concentration of factor IX becomes evident at factor IX concentrations lower than 30 nM (about 40% clotting factor activity). Factor VIII is a compulsory cofactor for this factor IX activity because the prothrombinase activity at optimal factor IX concentration is still critically dependent upon the amount of factor VIII present. The lower the amount of thromboplastin, the higher the importance of factor IX and factor VIII activation in thromboplastin-dependent coagulation. This suggests a role of this pathway in pathophysiological thrombin formation.