Fibrinogen can contain two types of γ chains, γA and γ’, that have identical sequences for the first 407 amino acids, but differ at their carboxyl termini. The γA chain contains four amino acids from γA 408–411, whereas the γ’ chain contains a different, highly anionic sequence of twenty amino acids from γ’ 408–427. This small change results in profound differences in the fibrinogen isoforms containing these distinct chains. The γ’ chain contains high affinity binding sites for zymogen factor XIII and for thrombin, and fibrinogen containing γ’ chains forms fibrin clots that are resistant to fibrinolysis. We have shown previously that the fibrinogen γ’ chain carboxyl terminus binds to thrombin exosite II, an anion-binding exosite known for its heparin binding activity. Recent reports show that the presence of the γ’ chain in fibrinogen reduces prothrombin activation in whole plasma assays. This inhibition may correspond to an activity originally described by Seegers in 1945 as “antithrombin I”, the adsorption of thrombin to fibrin. We have therefore investigated the enzymatic effects of γ’ peptide binding to thrombin in order to determine the role of the γ’ chain in the inhibition of prothrombin activation. In whole plasma, the γ’410–427 peptide prolonged the activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) in a dose-dependent manner, causing a delay in clotting from 29 seconds to 47 seconds at a concentration of 500 μM. A scrambled control peptide at the same concentration had little effect, increasing the clotting time to only 31.4 seconds. A series of γ’ deletion peptides were tested for their ability to prolong the aPTT. The inhibitory effect of the peptides corresponded in rank order to their thrombin binding affinity. In contrast to the aPTT, the prothrombin time increased only slightly from 11.7 seconds to 12.8 seconds (INR from 1.04 to 1.14) with the γ’410–427 peptide. This suggested that the γ’ peptide exerted its inhibitory effect on (a) component(s) of the intrinsic pathway, rather than the extrinsic pathway. We therefore investigated the effect of the γ’ peptide on thrombin activation of factor VIII, a thrombin substrate that, unlike factor V, is unique to the intrinsic pathway. Using purified factor VIII and thrombin in vitro, we showed that the γ’ peptide inhibited thrombin cleavage of factor VIII. However, this inhibitory effect was not due to direct inhibition of the thrombin active site, since the free γ’ peptide had little effect on thrombin cleavage of a small peptidyl substrate, tosyl-glycyl-prolyl-arginine-4-nitranilide acetate. These results suggest that factor VIII interactions with thrombin exosite II are essential for efficient cleavage of factor VIII, and support recent findings by others that interactions between thrombin exosite II and the A2 domain of factor VIII facilitate thrombin-catalyzed cleavage. These findings may explain, at least in part, the inhibitory effect of the γ’ chain on prothrombin activation in plasma.