Continuous and sinusoidal endothelial cells display marked morphological and functional heterogeneity as to their plasmalemmal vesicle content, to the kind of intercellular junctional complexes, to the existence and kind of fenestrae and gaps, to the existence and character of their basement membrane, to their ability for phagocytosis and to other functional parameters. Monoclonal antibody 1F10, raised against human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVE cells), reflects these differences in recognizing--without any nonendothelial side reactions--an endothelial cell surface antigen, abundantly expressed in continuous endothelia, low and inconsistently expressed in liver sinusoidal and dermal lymphatic endothelia and absent from splenic sinusoidal endothelial cells. In differentiated skin vascular tumors, 1F10 antigen is expressed in normal amounts while it is only low and inconsistently expressed in the dedifferentiated endothelial cells of Kaposi's sarcoma and hemangiosarcoma. HUVE cells in culture, in contrast to their in situ ancestors, express variable amounts of 1F10 antigen. When endothelial cell-conditioned medium (ECC medium) is supplied to HUVE cells in culture, no 1F10 antigen is expressed, while supplementation with fresh serum-containing medium (FSC medium) or cytokines, such as bFGF, suffices to maintain 1F10 expression in 10-70% of the cells. From this we conclude that developmental regulation, environmental influences and cytokine supply contribute to the differentiation and maintenance of the 1F10+ and 1F10-endothelial cell phenotypes, both in vivo and in vitro.