Tenascin is a glycoprotein found mainly in the extracellular matrix of developing and malignant tissues. The distribution of this molecule in normal and pathological synovia from patients with osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) was investigated by indirect immunofluorescence utilizing specific monoclonal antibodies. The same technique was used to study total fibronectin (tFn) in synovial tissues as well as ED-A and ED-B containing fibronectin (Fn) isoforms (A-Fn, B-Fn), generated by alternative splicing of pre-mRNA. Tenascin was found in normal synovium just beneath the whole lining cell layer. However, a higher density and spreading pattern of distribution was observed in OA and RA sections. A-Fn and B-Fn isoforms were prominent and widespread throughout the normal synovial lining; in hypercellular synovial lining (in RA and OA samples), A-Fn and B-Fn were also observed spreading in the sublining, as well as tFn.