The process of neutrophil adhesion to and migration through the microvascular endothelium, an early event in the induction of the acute inflammatory response, has been attributed to the generation of extravascular chemoattractants. Although both chemotactic peptides and lipid mediators enhance neutrophil adherence in vitro and in vivo, the mechanism(s) involved in the interaction between circulating neutrophils and microvascular endothelial cells is still not completely understood. In a microtiter well adherence assay, the chemotactic peptides, FMLP and C5a, and the lipid mediators, leukotriene B4 (LTB4) and platelet activating factor (PAF), enhanced human neutrophil adherence to cultured human microvascular endothelial cells as well as to human umbilical vein endothelial cells in a dose-dependent manner with a rapid time course. This stimulated adhesive interaction between neutrophils and cultured human endothelial cells was dependent on the expression of the Mac-1, LFA-1, p150,95 glycoprotein family on the neutrophil surface since neutrophils from patients with leukocyte adhesion deficiency, lacking surface expression of the adhesive glycoproteins, exhibited markedly diminished adherence to human endothelial cells in response to stimulation with chemotactic factors compared to normal control neutrophils. All four mediators enhanced expression of the glycoprotein family on the surface of normal neutrophils as determined by flow cytofluorimetry using a monoclonal antibody (TS1/18) to the glycoprotein common beta subunit. In addition, TS1/18 inhibited up to 100% the adherence of normal neutrophils to endothelial cells stimulated by maximal concentrations of FMLP, C5a, LTB4, or PAF. Moreover, HL-60 cells, human promyelocytic leukemia cells, neither increased glycoprotein surface expression nor adherence in response to stimulation. Thus, peptide and lipid mediators of the acute inflammatory response appear to enhance adherence of circulating neutrophils to the microvascular endothelium by a mechanism dependent on expression of the Mac-1, LFA-1, p150,95 glycoprotein family on the neutrophil surface.