Several types of collagen are known to exist in the intervertebral disc in addition to the fibrillar collagens, Types I and II. Although they constitute only a small percentage of the total collagen content, these minor collagens may have important functions. This study was designed to investigate the presence of Types I, II, III, IV, VI, and IX collagens in the intervertebral disc and cartilage end plate by immunohistochemistry, thereby establishing their location within the tissues. Types III and VI collagen have a pericellular distribution in animal and human tissue. No staining for Type IX collagen was present in normal human disc, but in rat and bovine intervertebral disc, it was also located pericellularly. These results show that cells of the intervertebral disc and cartilage end plate sit in fibrous capsules, forming chondrons similar to those described in articular cartilage. In pathologic tissue the amount and distribution of the collagen types, and the organization of the pericellular capsule, differ from that seen in control material.