Leukocyte binding to endothelial cells (ECs) is thought to contribute to the pathogenesis of leg ulcers caused by chronic venous insufficiency. In other systems, such binding is mediated by the interaction of adhesion molecules such as intracellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule- (VCAM-1) and E-selectin (on ECs), and leukocyte function-associated antigen-1(LFA-1) and very late activated antigen-4 (VLA-4) (on Leukocytes). Our purpose was to determine whether an increased expression of these adhesion molecules contributes to the pathogenesis of chronic venous insufficiency. Twenty-seven biopsy specimens of inflamed dermatoliposclerotic skin adjacent to venous leg ulcers were stained immunohistochemically with monoclonal antibodies against ICAM-1, VCAM-1, LFA-1, VLA-4, and E-selectin. Staining intensity was compared with that of normal skin. Specimens of leg ulcers caused by chronic venous insufficiency showed increased expression of ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 but not of E-selectin on The expression of LFA-1 and VLA-4 on perivascular leukocytes was increased dramatically in comparison to healthy skin. Upregulation of ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 on ECs may contribute to the increased adherence and extravasation of LFA-1 and VLA-4-positive leukocytes in chronic venous insufficiency.