The architecture of lymphoid follicles is determined by a series of interactions between lymphoid and follicular stromal cells. A cardinal population in the non-lymphoid compartment is the follicular dendritic cell (FDC), whose communication with resting and activated B cells involves various adhesive interactions. The FDC phenotype variably includes the display of vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM-1). In this report we investigated the appearance and follicular tissue distribution of VCAM-1 in murine peripheral lymphoid tissues, and compared VCAM-1 with other FDC markers using inummohistochemistry. Correlating the appearance of VCAM-1 with other murine FDC-associated markers (CR1.2 [complement receptor 1.2 or CD35/21] and FDC-M1) revealed that the display of VCAM-1 is restricted to a subset of CR1.2-positive FDCs. We found that the expression of VCAM-1 antigen in the spleen or peripheral lymph nodes on FDCs requires antigenic stimulus, and that it coincides with germinal center formation. The VCAM-1 expression is associated with the appearance of mucosal addressin cell adhesion molecule (MAdCAM-1), with some slight differences in occurrence. The appearance of VCAM-1 and MAdCAM-1 antigens on FDCs may serve as indicators of FDC activation.