Fat-storing cells (perisinusoidal lipocytes, Ito cells), the principal proteoglycan-producing cell type in liver, were maintained for various times in primary and secondary culture to monitor the amount and pattern of [35S]sulfate-labeled glycosaminoglycans (GAG) in the cells, on the cell surface, and in the medium. In parallel with the phenotypic modulation of fat-storing cells toward myofibroblast-like cells, intracellular GAG decrease progressively, whereas cell surface-bound and medium GAG increase several-fold. These changes are associated with time-dependent alterations of the pattern of GAG in the various compartments. Dermatan sulfate is the most prominent intracellular GAG type in primary cultures, but on the cell surface and in the medium chondroitin sulfate prevails and reaches almost 70% of all medium GAG in secondary cultures. The results point to a highly dynamic expression of the specific types of GAG in the cellular and extracellular compartments of fat-storing cell cultures that seems to accompany the spontaneous transformation into myofibroblast-like cells. The latter one is a mainly chondroitin sulfate-producing cell type, whereas the initial fat-storing cell generates predominantly dermatan sulfate.