Plasma protein C (PC) antigen concentration has been shown to be normal or increased in patients with proteinuria. However, the available data concerning PC anticoagulant activity in nephrotic syndrome (NS) are limited. We measured plasma PC antigen concentration. PC anticoagulant activity, total and free protein (PS) concentrations, and antithrombin III (AT-III) antigen concentration in 21 adult patients with NS. The results were compared with those obtained in a control group of normal volunteers. PC antigen concentration and its anticoagulant activity were significantly increased in the NS group when compared with the normal control group. Likewise, plasma total and free PS values were significantly higher in the NS patients than the corresponding values found in the control group. In contrast, plasma AT-III antigen concentration was significantly reduced in patients with NS. A negative correlation was found between plasma PC and AT-III levels. These observations suggest that increased plasma PC concentration and anticoagulant activity in NS may afford some protection against the thrombotic diathesis associated with antithrombin deficiency and other coagulation abnormalities in this otherwise hypercoagulable state.