Large multimers of von Willebrand factor (vWf) are released from the Weibel-Palade bodies of cultured endothelial cells following treatment with a secretagogue (Sporn et al, Cell 46:185, 1986). These multimers were shown by immunofluorescent staining to bind more extensively to the extracellular matrix of human foreskin fibroblasts than constitutively secreted vWf, which is composed predominantly of dimeric molecules. Increased binding of A23187-released vWf was not due to another component present in the releasate, since releasate from which vWf was adsorbed, when added together with constitutively secreted vWf, did not promote binding. When iodinated plasma vWf was overlaid onto the fibroblasts, the large forms bound preferentially to the matrix. These results indicated that the enhanced binding of the vWf released from the Weibel-Palade bodies was likely due to its large multimeric size. It appears that multivalency is an important component of vWf interaction with the extracellular matrix, just as has been shown for vWf interaction with platelets. The pool of vWf contained within the Weibel-Palade bodies, therefore, is not only especially suited for platelet binding, but also for interaction with the extracellular matrix.