Immunogold staining in conjunction with TEM was used to observe C3 adsorption from plasma in relation to the underlying titanium structure of thermal, anodic, and electropolished oxides. Heat treatments and oxide thickness were found to have no significant effect on the adsorption behavior of C3, while surface oxide type possibly has. Surface concentration of C3 was found to be time‐ and plasma concentration‐dependent. Evidence is given for the possible involvement of C3 in protein exchange, i.e., the Vroman effect. Diluted plasma resulted in a random distribution of gold colloids, whereas clustering occurred with undiluted plasma. Although C3 concentrations present on grain boundaries followed the same trend as that found on the surface, C3 was found to have a higher grain boundary than bulk concentration for 0.1% plasma. Copyright © 1991 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.