During early granulation tissue formation of wound repair, new capillaries invade the fibrin clot, a process that undoubtedly requires an interaction of vascular cells with the wound provisional matrix composed mainly of fibrin, fibronectin, and vitronectin. Integrin alphaVbeta3 is the vascular cell receptor for these wound-associated adhesive proteins. Therefore, we investigated the expression of this receptor on new capillaries of healing full-thickness cutaneous porcine wounds. During granulation tissue formation, alphaVbeta3 was expressed specifically on capillary sprouts invading the central fibrin clot whereas the closely related integrin alphaVbeta5 failed to localize to these cells. Cyclic peptides or antibody antagonists of alphaVbeta3 specifically inhibited granulation tissue formation in a transient manner during the period of invasive angiogenesis. Immunolocalization studies revealed that alphaVbeta3 became aggregated and lost from sprouting vessels after treatment with a peptide antagonist. In contrast, beta 1 integrins were not modulated by this treatment. Once granulation tissue filled the wound and invasive angiogenesis terminated, the alphaVbeta3 showed little or no expression in the granulation tissue microvasculature. These data demonstrate that integrin alphaVbeta3 plays a fundamental, but transient, role during invasive angiogenesis and granulation tissue formation in a healing wound.