During sepsis the infiltration of leukocytes plays a pivotal role in tissue damage. Induction of septic shock results in an early accumulation of polymorphonuclear leukocytes in the liver (after 3 hours), which is followed by an infiltration of mononuclear phagocytes (after 30 hours). Expression of adhesion molecules may contribute to the migration of leukocytes to the site of inflammation. Therefore, in the present study we determined the expression of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and vascular adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) on hepatocytes, liver endothelial cells, and Kupffer cells after lipopolysaccharide (LPS) treatment of rats in vivo. Parenchymal cells showed no constitutive expression of VCAM-1 and the expression could not be upregulated by LPS treatment in vivo, whereas Kupffer and endothelial cells had a low basal expression of VCAM-1 and this expression was increased 40-fold by LPS treatment in vivo. All three cell types showed a basal expression of ICAM-1 and the expression on endothelial liver cells of untreated rats was two times higher than the expression on parenchymal and Kupffer cells. Stimulation with LPS increased the expression of ICAM-1 2.5 times for parenchymal cells and approximately 4 times for endothelial and Kupffer cells. It is concluded that the expression of adhesion molecules may contribute to the influx of leukocytes during septic shock and, therefore, play a role in tissue damage during septic shock. (Hepatology 1995; 22:1538–1546).