Expression of β1 integrins was studied in vitro as articular chondrocytes reestablished a matrix in culture and in situ in a nonhuman primate model of osteoarthritis in order to investigate a potential role for integrins in mediating cell-extracellular matrix interactions in cartilage. Chondrocytes were found to express α1β1, α3β1, and α5β1 integrins both in vitro and in situ. Cell surface expression of β1 integrins increased as chondrocytes were maintained in culture from 3 to 7 days. Increased β1 integrin expression was also observed in osteoarthritic cartilage compared with normal cartilage. The greatest relative increase in both systems was noted for the α1β1 integrin. The increase in chondrocyte β1 integrin expression in vitro was noted in both monolayer and alginate cultures and occurred prior to detectable changes in the differentiated phenotype of the chondrocyte. Disruption of the cytoskeleton with the drug dihydrocytochalasin B inhibited the cell culture induced increase in integrin expression, while treatment of cultured cells with TGF-β resulted in increased expression of the α5β1 integrin. The modulation of β1 integrin expression noted in vitro and in situ indicates that chondrocytes are capable of regulated expression of β1 integrins and suggests that β1 integrins may play an important role in mediating chondrocyte-extracellular matrix interactions in cartilage.