The pericellular matrix of human fibroblast cultures was isolated, using sequential extraction with sodium deoxycholate and hypotonic buffer in the presence of protease inhibitor. The matrix attached to the growth substratum had a "sackcloth-like" structure as seen by phase contrast, immunofluorescence, and scanning electron microscopy, and it had a vaguely filamentous ultrastructure similar to that seen in intact cell layers. The matrix consisted of hyaluronic acid and heparan sulfate as the major glycosaminoglycan components and fibronectin and procollagen as major polypeptides as shown by metabolic labeling, gel electrophoresis, immunofluorescence, and collagenase digestion. This pericellular matrix can be regarded as an in vitro equivalent of the loose connective tissue matrix.

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