Plasma protein C inhibitor (PCI) was purified to homogeneity (greater than 95%) with good recovery (greater than 25%) and reproducibility, and the inhibition of a number of blood clotting and fibrinolytic enzymes by purified PCI was studied. PCI inhibited activated protein C (APC), two-chain urokinase (2c-uPA), two-chain tissue plasminogen activator (2c-tPA), thrombin, factor Xa, plasma kallikrein and factor XIa, and this inhibition was accelerated by heparin. The inhibition of each enzyme was accompanied by formation of enzyme inhibitor complexes and by degradation of the inhibitor to lower molecular weight derivatives. Plasma kallikrein and factor XIa cleaved PCI of native Mr = 57,000 into two products with Mr = 54,000 and 52,000 whereas the other enzymes converted the PCI to a product with Mr = 54,000. PCI did not detectably inhibit alpha-factor XIIa or plasmin. Kinetic studies using PCI yielded the following second-order rate constants for inhibition of human APC, 2c-uPA, 2c-tPA, thrombin, factor Xa, kallikrein and factor XIa respectively: 0.65 x 10(4), 0.22 x 10(4), 0.08 x 10(4), 0.61 x 10(4), 2.01 x 10(4), 6.50 x 10(4), and 9.03 x 10(4) M-1s-1 in the absence of heparin and 1.58 x 10(6), 0.43 x 10(6), 0.03 x 10(6), 0.52 x 10(6), 0.09 x 10(6), 0.18 x 10(6) and 0.74 x 10(6) M-1s-1 in the presence of optimal concentrations of heparin. The rate constants for the inhibition of factor XIa and 2c-uPA by PCI suggest a possible role of PCI in the physiologic regulation of these enzymes. The second order rate constants for inhibition of bovine APC and Gla-domainless bovine APC by human PCI were 0.61 x 10(4) and 0.26 x 10(4) M-1s-1 in the absence of heparin and 0.54 x 10(6) and 0.71 x 10(6) M-1s-1 in the presence of heparin, respectively. Calcium ions (0.05 to 4 mM) did not affect these rate constants. The results obtained with normal and Gla-domainless APC indicate that the Gla domain of APC is not required for inactivation by PGI and is not essential for the heparin stimulation of this reaction.