Thrombospondin-1 (THBS1) and transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGFB1) are specifically up-regulated by prostaglandin F2alpha in mature corpus luteum (CL). This study examined the relationship between the expression of THBS1 and TGFB1 and the underlying mechanisms of their actions in luteal endothelial cells (ECs). TGFB1 stimulated SMAD2 phosphorylation and SERPINE1 levels in dose- and time-dependent manners in luteal EC. THBS1 also elevated SERPINE1; this effect was abolished by TGFB1 receptor-1 kinase inhibitor (SB431542). The findings here further imply that THBS1 activates TGFB1 in luteal ECs: THBS1 increased the effects of latent TGFB1 on phosphorylated SMAD (phospho-SMAD) 2 and SERPINE1. THBS1 silencing significantly decreased SERPINE1 and levels of phospho-SMAD2. Lastly, THBS1 actions on SERPINE1 were inhibited by LSKL peptide (TGFB1 activation inhibitor); LSKL also counteracted latent TGFB1-induced phospho-SMAD2. We found that TGFB1 up-regulated its own mRNA levels and those of THBS1. Both compounds generated apoptosis, but THBS1 was significantly more effective (2.5-fold). Notably, this effect of THBS1 was not mediated by TGFB1. THBS1 and TGFB1 also differed in their activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase. Whereas TGFB1 rapidly induced phospho-p38, THBS1 had a delayed effect. Inhibition of p38 pathway by SB203580 did not modulate TGFB1 effect on cell viability, but it amplified THBS1 actions. THBS1-stimulated caspase-3 activation coincided with p38 phosphorylation, suggesting that caspase-induced DNA damage initiated p38 phosphorylation. The in vitro data suggest that a feed-forward loop exists between THBS1, TGFB1, and SERPINE1. Indeed all these three genes were similarly induced in the regressing CL. Their gene products can promote vascular instability, apoptosis, and matrix remodeling during luteolysis.