The use of monoclonal antibodies has led to much progress in the characterization of extracellular matrix components of the CNS. F1C3 is a monoclonal antibody raised against the astrocytic cell line, Neu7. Analysis by immunoprecipitation and Western blots of the F1C3 antigen in Neu7 cell lysates and conditioned medium reveals a recognition of several protein bands around 140-230 kD. Internal peptide sequence data from these bands indicate that they are highly homologous to fibrillar collagens, and the F1C3 antigen is specifically digested by the collagenase I protease. Other glial cell lines show F1C3 antigen expression including A7, C6, and U373. Cultures of neonatal primary astrocytes also express F1C3 antigen, and Western blot analysis of rat brain extracts from different ages and parts of the brain confirm an in vivo expression of F1C3 protein. The significance of the expression of fibrillar collagen-like proteins by astrocytes is discussed together with its possible implication during developmental processes and in the context of CNS lesions and regeneration.