The development of bursal follicles and the differentiation of the follicle-associated epithelium and interfollicular epithelium were studied immunohistochemically using monoclonal anti-vimentin and anti-cytokeratin antibodies. In 10-day-old embryos the entodermal and cloacal epithelia coexpressed vimentin- and cytokeratin-intermediate filaments. Both undifferentiated and differentiated bursal surface epithelium simultaneously expressed vimentin- and cytokeratin-intermediate filaments during the entire period of embryogenesis. Vimentin expression in reticuloepithelial cells was related to bursal cell differentiation but was not linked to immune function. Sequential loss of vimentin from interfollicular epithelium, follicle-associated epithelium, and reticuloepithelial cells may reflect sequential acquisition of maturity in these three compartments. The presence of cytokeratin-intermediate filaments suggested that follicle-associated epithelium was not of mesenchymal origin. Testosterone treatment did not influence the vimentin and cytokeratin filament expression in the epithelial cell.