Severe type I plasminogen (PLG) deficiency has been causally linked to a rare chronic inflammatory disease of the mucous membranes that may be life threatening. Here we report clinical manifestations, PLG plasma levels, and molecular genetic status of the PLG gene of 50 patients. The most common clinical manifestations among these patients were ligneous conjunctivitis (80%) and ligneous gingivitis (34%), followed by less common manifestations such as ligneous vaginitis (8%), and involvement of the respiratory tract (116%), the ears (14%), or the gastrointestinal tract (2%). Four patients showed congenital occlusive hydrocephalus, 2 with Dandy-Walker malformation of cerebellum. Venous thrombosis was not observed. In all patients, plasma PLG levels were markedly reduced. In 38 patients, distinct mutations in the PLG gene were identified. The most common genetic alteration was a K19E mutation found in 34% of patients. Transient in vitro expression of PLG mutants R134K, delK212, R216H, P285T P285A, T319_N320insN, and R776H in transfected COS-7 cells revealed significantly impaired secretion and increased degradation of PLG. These results demonstrate impaired secretion of mutant PLG proteins as a common molecular pathomechanism in type I PLG deficiency.