S-100 protein is an immunohistochemical marker for a subset of dendritic cells, the interdigitating reticulum cells (IDRCs), which are mainly located in T-dependent areas of lymphoid tissues. In the present study we have investigated the distribution of S-100-positive cells in lymph nodes, spleen, thymus and peripheral blood of normal subjects. Immunoreactivity for S-100 protein was demonstrated in large cells with dendritic morphology and in small lymphocyte-like cells present in the lymph node paracortex, thymic medulla, splenic periarterial lymphatic sheaths (PALS) and in peripheral blood. S-100-positive lymphocyte-like cells were frequently detected around high endothelial venules (HEV) and were present in numbers comparable to those of S-100-positive IDRCs. Immunoelectron microscopy confirmed the existence of positive cells with lymphoid morphology and revealed that the intracellular distribution of the immunoreaction product was similar in lymphoid and dendritic cells. Further characterization of S-100-positive cells demonstrated that both lymphoid and dendritic cells were unreactive with a large panel of monocytic and macrophage markers.