Cell adhesion receptors of the integrin family play a major role during re-epithelialization of human wounds. We have previously documented that the expression of alpha v family integrins is induced in keratinocytes of mucosal wounds . In the present investigation, we extended these studies to determine whether alpha v beta 6 integrin is expressed during wound healing in humans. Mucosal and epidermal wound sections from 1- to 7-day-old wounds were used for immunolocalization of integrins and their putative ligands. In addition, freshly isolated epidermal keratinocytes were used to study integrin expression in vitro. Expression of alpha v beta 6 integrin appeared relatively late during mucosal and dermal wound healing. Maximal expression was seen in 7-day-old wounds in which epithelial sheets had fused and granulation tissue was present. Fibronectin and tenascin, both possible ligands for alpha v beta 6 integrin, were found concentrated underneath the basal epithelial cells expressing this receptor, and the maximal expression of tenascin coincided with that of alpha v beta 6 integrin. Freshly isolated epidermal keratinocytes did not stain for alpha v beta 6 integrin but began to express this integrin after subculturing. Our results suggest that the expression of alpha v beta 6 integrin, a putative binding integrin for fibronectin and tenascin, is induced in keratinocytes when epithelial sheets fuse during wound healing.