To identify estrogen and progesterone target cells in the human anterior cruciate ligament immunohistochemical localization of both estrogen and progesterone receptors was performed in 17 specimens of human anterior cruciate ligament. All ligament specimens were obtained at surgery. Thirteen specimens were from women, and four were from men: the average age was 57 years (range, 18-78 years). Eleven specimens (from nine women and two men) came from total knee replacements for osteoarthritis of the knee: three (from two women and one man), from reconstructions of the anterior cruciate ligament: two (both from women), from medial meniscectomies; and one (from a man), from an amputation secondary to chondrosarcoma of the pelvis. An immunoperoxidase method using monoclonal antibodies to the estrogen and progesterone receptors was employed to identify estrogen and progesterone target cells in the anterior cruciate ligament. Staining of both receptors was demonstrable in 14 specimens and in the remaining three specimens less than 15% of the cells were stained. Both estrogen and progesterone receptors were localized to synoviocytes in the synovial lining, fibroblasts in the anterior cruciate ligament stroma and cells in the blood vessel walls of the ligament. This demonstration of receptors for estrogen and progesterone in the cells of anterior cruciate ligament suggests that female sex hormones may have an effect on its structure and composition.