Endothelial cells rest on a basement membrane that anchors them to the vessel wall. The α6β4 integrin complex has been described on epithelial cells, frequently localizes to basement-membrane structures, and appears to play a role in binding epithelial cells to laminin. We have determined that human microvascular endothelial cells express the β4 integrin chain in vivo and that it preferentially localizes to the endothelial basement membrane. Human microvascular endothelial cells and human umbilical vein endothelial cells also express cell-surface, β4 in vitro. In addition, the expression of β4 appears to be polarized to the undersurface of endothelial cell monolayers in vitro, mimicking its in vivo localization. Stimulation of microvascular endothelial cells with basic fibroblast growth factor or phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate, agents previously shown to induce endothelial cell migration in vitro, resulted in a marked decrease in cell-surface expression of the β4 integrin chain, associated with a decrease in β4 mRNA. These data demonstrate that human endothelial cells express the β4 integrin chain in vivo and in vitro, the expression of this integrin chain is polarized, and its expression is regulated on microvascular endothelial cells by factors important in wound healing and vascular regeneration.