In a variety of lymphocyte interactions, lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1 (LFA-1) plays an important role as an accessory mechanism mediating cell adhesion. We tested the possibility that LFA-1 could also be involved in the specific binding of lymphocytes to high endothelial venules (HEV) during homing. Antibodies against LFA-1 but not against various other cell surface molecules (except the putative gp90 homing receptor defined by the MEL-14 antibody) were found to inhibit in vitro adherence of lymphocytes to HEV in frozen sections of lymph nodes. Binding of T cell lines to HEV was also inhibited by anti-LFA-1 antibody. Using sublines selected for differential expression of the MEL-14 antigen, MEL-14 high cells (which bind well to HEV) were less susceptible to inhibition by anti-LFA-1 than poor binders with low levels of the homing receptor, supporting the model of LFA-1 being an accessory mechanism strengthening weak interactions between cells. Parallel results were found in vivo where anti-LFA-1 antibodies reduced the migration of normal lymphocytes into lymph nodes and Peyer's patches by 40 to 60%. Localization in the lung, especially of activated lymphocytes, was also impaired, although to a lesser extent. These findings suggest that LFA-1 plays an accessory role in cellular interactions relevant for lymphocyte migration.