The presence of a scaffold for cellular spreading and proliferation is a precondition for the development of traction membranes in proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR). This study shows the presence of the serum spreading factor, vitronectin, in the extracellular matrix of periretinal membranes removed during vitreoretinal surgery. By means of a double label immunofluorescence protocol, a partial colocalisation of vitronectin with fibronectin at the magnification of light microscopy can be detected. Fibronectin is a high-molecular glycoprotein with multiple biological functions including the mediation of cell attachment and migration. Both proteins share a special cell recognition site which could be a target for experimental pharmacological approaches to PVR. Preliminary studies of vitreous aspirates using electrophoresis and Western blotting indicate that vitronectin may play a more important role in post-traumatic PVR as compared to PVR following rhegmatogenous retinal detachment.