It is very difficult to distinguish genuine fibroblasts from a large population of fibroblast-like cells, which carry out different functions at different locations sharing certain characteristic features of fibroblasts. Fibroblast-like cells exhibit structural features and antigenic profiles related to their specific locations and functions. Examples of fibroblast-like cells are myofibroblasts, perineural sheath cells, Ito cells, endocrine fibroblast-like cells, pericryptal and villous fibroblasts in the intestine, fibroblast-like cells in the myenteric plexus, lymphoid organ dendritic cells and fibroblasts at different sites including tendon, dermis and cornea. Grouping of such a wide variety of cells in a fibroblast (-like) family arises both from structural findings and experimental studies demonstrating the fibroblastic origin of most of the members. This review summarizes the classical and current data about fibroblasts and a group of cells which possess common features with fibroblasts. Discrimination of a certain cell type or a cell group using clear-cut set of criteria will be possible if lineage specific markers are broadly accepted. Copyright © 2006 by Türkiye Klinikleri.