High endothelial venules (HEV) in lymphoid tissues support high levels of lymphocyte extravasion from the blood. We purified high endothelial cells from human tonsils by immunomagnetic selection with MECA-79 MAb to construct an HEV cDNA library. Differential screening of this library using cDNA probes from HEV (plus) or flat-walled vessel (minus) endothelial cells allowed us to characterize a novel human cDNA expressed to high levels in HEV. The cDNA encodes a secreted acidic calcium-binding glycoprotein of 664 aa residues, designated hevin, exhibiting 62% identity with the antiadhesive extracellular matrix protein SPARC, over a region of 232 aa spanning more than four fifths of the SPARC coding sequence. The primary structure and sequence of hevin and similar to SPARC-like proteins from rat and quail, called SC1 or QR1. Hevin could contribute to the induction or maintenance of features of the HEV endothelium that facilitate lymphocyte migration.