The location and mechanisms of leukocyte sequestration in the pulmonary circulation have been investigated by using high-magnification in vivo videomicroscopy to record the passage of unlabeled native leukocytes through canine pulmonary capillaries. Of 650 leukocytes traversing capillary networks, 46 +/- 6% (SE) of the leukocytes passed through without stopping, 42 +/- 9% stopped in segments between junctions, and 12 +/- 4% stopped in junctions. Leukocytes rolling along arteriolar walls were nearly spherical, as 94% had aspect ratios (major axis divided by minor axis) < or = 1.25. To pass through the capillary bed, the leukocytes deformed into elongated shapes. Many leukocytes remained elongated after entering the venules (53% had aspect ratios > or = 1.25). Venular rolling was blocked by fucoidin (blocking both L- and P-selectin) but not by anti-P-selectin antibodies alone, indicating that rolling leukocytes adhered to the venular endothelium by L-selectin. These observations demonstrate that leukocytes deform to transit the capillary bed, that they stop more frequently in segments than in junctions, and that rolling leukocytes in the venular marginated pool adhere via L-selectin.