The ability of thioglycollate (TG)-elicited peritoneal macrophages, a population of recently recruited monocytes, to adhere to the basement membrane glycoproteins laminin and type IV collagen is not a constitutive function of these cells. Adherence can be induced, however, by treatment with IFN-gamma and LPS. In general, IFN-gamma is more potent than LPS in promoting this adherence. Maximal adherence, however, is observed when IFN-gamma (greater than or equal to 5 U/ml) is used together with LPS (2.0 ng/ml). These requirements parallel the conditions needed to obtain tumoricidal activation of TG-elicited macrophages. Adherence to laminin, in the presence of these stimuli, is transient, being maximal at 8 h after their addition and diminishing with longer periods of incubation. In contrast, adherence to type IV collagen does not appear to be transient and IFN-gamma and LPS induce a more prolonged association of macrophages with this substratum.