Smooth muscle myosin heavy chain (SMMHC) is a major structural component of the contractile apparatus in smooth muscle cells. Even though it is considered a relatively specific marker for terminal smooth muscle cell differentiation, expression in other cell types such as follicular dendritic cells (FDCs) has rarely been reported. To determine whether SMMHC represents an effective FDC marker in lymphoid tissues, we compared the immunohistochemical results for SMMHC with those of the traditional FDC markers podoplanin (D2-40) and CD21. Paraffin sections of 44 lymphoid tissues were analyzed, including 31 cases of follicular hyperplasia, 6 cases of follicular lymphoma, 2 cases of peripheral T-cell lymphoma, 3 cases of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma arising in follicular lymphoma, 1 case of nodular sclerosis classical Hodgkin lymphoma, and 1 case of small lymphocytic lymphoma. There was no statistically significant difference between the number of SMMHC-positive and D2-40-positive or CD21+ lymph nodes (P>0.05). The extent and intensity of SMMHC-positive FDCs were similar to those of D2-40-positive FDCs (P=0.127 and 0.733, respectively), but significantly lower compared with those of CD21+ cells (P=0.009 and 0.00002, respectively). However, in contrast to CD21 which was also positive in some germinal center B cells, SMMHC expression was restricted to FDCs. Our results indicate that SMMHC is an excellent marker for FDCs and can be particularly helpful in demonstrating the underlying architecture in lymphoid processes.