This study describes the distribution of fibronectin and its association with reticulin fibers (type III collagen) and hyaluronic acid in shallow rabbit wounds. Linear incisions were made dorsally with a surgical blade. Animals were sacrificed and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 8 day wounds were examined using peroxidase-antiperoxidase to localize affinity-purified antibodies to fibronectin. Tissue samples were also stained with hematoxylin and eosin in addition to silver stains for reticulin, and Alcian blue for hyaluronic acid. After wounding, the incision filled with a fibrin clot that stained positively for fibronectin. The underlying dermis and adjacent, unwounded dermis also contained fibronectin. Epidermal cells that migrated from the wound margin between the clot and the dermis were in direct association with fibronectin in these wound components. By 72 hr, epidermal continuity was reestablished. Early granulation tissue formation was apparent just below the epidermis in 5 day wounds. Fibronectin was observed in the matrix surrounding individual fibroblasts and codistributed with reticulin fibers and hyaluronic acid in both 5 and 8 day wounds. Granulation tissue of 8 day wounds stained intensely for fibronectin and extended to a greater depth in the reticular dermis. Dense fibrillar networks of fibronectin and fibroblasts were aligned parallel to the epidermis, giving the granulation tissue a highly structured and organized appearance. Fibroblasts contained fibronectin and were surrounded by less fibronectin at the wound periphery than within the granulation tissue. These findings suggest that fibronectin may be important in the reconstruction of tissues during repair by functioning as an extracellular scaffold for migrating cells.