Retinoic acid (RA) and 1,25(OH)2-cholecalciferol (VitD3) are potent regulators of normal and malignant myeloid cells. In the human monoblast cell line U-937 they induce terminal differentiation, and the resulting phenotypes display both common and distinct, inducer-specific, properties. This paper shows that in U-937 cells the two retinoids, all-trans and 9-cis RA, induced the expression of CD49f (alpha 6 integrin subunit) and CD66a (biliary glycoprotein, BGP) mRNA and protein. In contrast, expression of CD49f and CD66a was not found in untreated or VitD3-induced cells. Cytokine-induced modulation of CD49f and CD66a expression was restricted to the retinoid-induced U-937 cells. The retinoid specific induction of CD49f and CD66a was confirmed in the related monoblastic cell line THP-1. Human blood monocytes and the monocytic cell line Mono Mac 6 responded poorly to RA, with respect to the regulation of CD49f and CD66a expression, indicating that early monocytic precursors were targets for the retinoid-specific regulation. Thus, the expression of CD49f and CD66a is developmentally regulated and specifically induced by all-trans and 9-cis Ra in human monocytic cells.