Thrombospondins are a family of five secreted proteins that have diverse roles in modulating cellular function. Thrombospondins-1 and 2 were identified as matricellular proteins based on their functional roles combined with their transient appearance or accumulation in extracellular matrix at specific times during development and in response to injury or stress in mature tissues. Thrombospondin-1 is a major component of platelet α-granules, which provides a convenient source for purification of the protein. Methods are described to prepare thrombospondin-1 from human platelets in a biologically active form with minimal degradation or contamination with other platelet proteins. A nondenaturing method is described for removing bound transforming growth factor-β1.