Previous studies have shown that polymorphonuclear leukocyte (PMN) adherence to endothelial cells (EC) induces transient increases in EC cytosolic free calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i) that are required for PMN transit across the EC barrier (Huang, A.J., J.E. Manning, T.M. Bandak, M.C. Ratau, K.R. Hanser, and S.C. Silverstein. 1993. J. Cell Biol. 120:1371–1380). To determine whether stimulation of [Ca2+]i changes in EC by leukocytes was induced by the same molecules that mediate leukocyte adherence to EC, [Ca2+]i was measured in Fura2-loaded human EC monolayers. Expression of adhesion molecules by EC was induced by a pretreatment of the cells with histamine or with Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and [Ca2+]i was measured in single EC after the addition of mAbs directed against the EC adhesion proteins P-selectin, E-selectin, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), or platelet/endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM-1). Both anti–P- and anti–E-selectin mAb, as well as anti–VCAM-1 mAb, induced transient increases in EC [Ca2+]i that were comparable to those induced by 200 μM histamine. In contrast, no effect was obtained by mAbs directed against the endothelial ICAM-1 or PECAM-1. PMN adherence directly stimulated increases in [Ca2+]i in histamine- or LPS-treated EC. mAbs directed against leukocyte CD18 or PECAM-1, the leukocyte counter-receptors for endothelial ICAM-1 and PECAM-1, respectively, did not inhibit PMN-induced EC activation. In contrast, mAb directed against sialyl Lewis x (sLex), a PMN ligand for endothelial P- and E-selectin, completely inhibited EC stimulation by adherent PMN. Changes in EC [Ca2+]i were also observed after adherence of peripheral blood monocytes to EC treated with LPS for 5 or 24 h. In these experiments, the combined addition of mAbs to sLex and VLA-4, the leukocyte counter-receptor for endothelial VCAM-1, inhibited [Ca2+]i changes in the 5 h–treated EC, whereas the anti–VLA-4 mAb alone was sufficient to inhibit [Ca2+]i changes in the 24 h-treated EC. Again, no inhibitory effect was observed with an anti-CD18 or anti–PECAM-1 mAb. Of note, the conditions that induced changes in EC [Ca2+]i, i.e., mAbs directed against endothelial selectins or VCAM-1, and PMN or monocyte adhesion to EC via selectins or VCAM-1, but not via ICAM-1 or PECAM-1, also induced a rearrangement of EC cytoskeletal microfilaments from a circumferential ring to stress fibers. We conclude that, in addition to their role as adhesion receptors, endothelial selectins and VCAM-1 mediate endothelial stimulation by adhering leukocytes.