The antithrombotic plasma enzyme, activated protein C (APC), may play a role in thrombolysis. In vitro, acceleration of clot lysis by APC depends on its ability to inhibit the activation of prothrombin. The effect of APC on the assembly and dispersion of fibrin network was studied using turbidimetry, plasmin digestion of fibrin, and electron microscopy of plasma clots. The addition of APC before clotting but not after clotting accelerated clot lysis. The rate of increase in the turbidity of clotting plasma was reduced by APC. The turbidity of plasma clots containing APC was directly related to the clot lysis time. Fibrin from plasma clots that were formed in the presence of APC yielded less fibrin degradation products than fibrin from clots without added APC. Furthermore, APC reduced the diameter and relative number of fibrin fibers in plasma clots during gel assembly. We propose that APC may enhance the efficacy of thrombolysis by reducing the relative mass of fibrin within maturing thrombi.