The distributions of hyaluronan (HA) and its presumptive receptor, CD44, were studied in skin samples from 13 psoriasis vulgaris patients, using an HA-specific probe (HABC), and monoclonal antibodies, respectively. The general distribution of HA and CD44 in psoriatic lesional epidermis resembled that in normal epidermis. However, areas of epidermis invaded by leukocytes showed a local depletion of HA and CD44, particularly at the contact areas of keratinocytes to lymphocytes and neutrophils. Removal by cellular uptake or extracellular degradation of CD44 and HA may be required for tight adherence between a keratinocyte and a leukocyte. On the dermal side, the tips of the prolonged dermal papillae in psoriatic lesions were intensively stained with HABC. The dilated capillaries and the space below the tip basal lamina, in particular, were heavily covered with HA. Occasionally, a similar intense staining was seen around an enlarged capillary in uninvolved psoriatic skin. CD44-positive leukocytes were found around the affected capillaries. The accumulation of HA in the dermal papillae may support the growth of psoriatic lesions, since HA stimulates the growth of capillaries as well as attracting inflammatory cells.