This study was undertaken to analyze antibodies to protein S (PS) in patients with an acquired PS deficiency. Plasma from symptomatic patients with acquired (n = 14) or congenital (n = 10) PS deficiency and 10 healthy donors was screened for PS antibodies by immunoblotting and for anti-phospholipid antibodies. PS antibodies (IgG) were detected in five of the patients with acquired PS deficiency. These antibodies belonged to the G1 and G4 immunoglobulin subclasses. IgG fractions from the same 5 patients were shown to inhibit PS activity. The inhibition of PS activity by the 5 IgG fractions was shown to be time- and dose-dependent and was abolished following incubation with purified PS, while no effect was found after absorption with cardiolipin micelles. In addition, anticardiolipin monoclonal or human purified antibodies, failed to exert significant PS inhibition. These findings demonstrate that anti-PS antibodies are able to inhibit PS activity and that this is independent of anti-phospholipid antibodies. Given the clinical features of the patients, these antibodies should be regarded as an expression of the broad autoimmune syndrome involving the phospholipid-binding plasma proteins.