Tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI) plays a vitally important role in the blood coagulation pathway. Recent studies indicated that TFPI induces apoptosis in vascular smooth-muscle cells (VSMCs) in animals. The present study investigated whether the TFPI gene could also induce apoptosis in human vascular smooth-muscle cells (hVSMCs). Such cells were isolated from human umbilical arteries and subsequently transfected with pIRES-TFPI plasmid (2 μg/mL). MTT assaying and cell counting were applied to measure cell viability and proliferation, RT-PCR was utilized to analyze TFPI gene expression in the cells. Apoptosis was analyzed by fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS). Several key proteins involved in apoptosis were examined through Western blotting. It was shown that TFPI gene transfer led to its increased cellular expression, with a subsequent reduction in hVSMC proliferation. Further investigation demonstrated that TFPI gene expression resulted in lesser amounts of procaspase-3, procaspase-8 and procascase-9, and an increased release of mitochondrial cytochrome c (cyt-c) into cytoplasm, thereby implying the involvement of both extrinsic and intrinsic pathways in TFPI gene-induced apoptosis in hVSMCs.