Four major morphologically distinct classes of cells were identified within the adult rabbit meniscus using antibodies to cytoskeletal proteins. Two classes of cell were present in the fibrocartilage region of the meniscus. These meniscal cells exhibited long cellular processes that extended from the cell body. A third cell type found in the inner hyaline-like region of the meniscus had a rounded form and lacked projections. A fourth cell type with a fusiform shape and no cytoplasmic projections was found along the superficial regions of the meniscus. Using a monoclonal antibody to connexin 43, numerous gap junctions were observed in the fibrocartilage region, whereas none were seen in cells either from the hyaline-like or the superficial zones of the meniscus. The majority of the cells within the meniscus exhibited other specific features such as primary cilia and 2 centrosomes. The placement of the meniscal cell subtypes as well as their morphology and architecture support the supposition that their specific characteristics underlie the ability of the meniscus to respond to different types of environmental mechanical loads.