The immunohistochemical profile of osteoclast-reacting monoclonal antibodies, 13C2 and 23C6, known to detect the alpha-chain of the vitronectin receptor, is described. Both antibodies reacted with several cell types apart from osteoclasts including megakaryocytes, smooth muscle cells, endothelial cells, thyroid follicular epithelium, renal glomeruli and tubular epithelium, myoepithelial and epithelial cells in the breast and prostate, and both cytotrophoblast and syncytiotrophoblast. In addition, macrophage polykaryons, synovial lining cells, a small number of mononuclear cells in buffy coats, and a few macrophage-like cells in the stroma of various tissues were also stained. The epitopes recognized by these antibodies are thus not osteoclast-specific and are present on other cells of the mononuclear phagocyte system. The implications of these results for osteoclast ontogeny, the nature of the antigens described and the question of osteoclast-specific antibodies are discussed.