Objectives: The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of soluble adhesion molecules in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) with demyelinating syndrome. Methods: Paired cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum samples were analysed by an ELISA method to determine the concentrations of sVCAM-1, sICAM-1 and sL-selectin. Intrathecal syntheses of the adhesion molecules were calculated. Results: Elevated serum and CSF concentrations of sVCAM-1 were present in all patient groups. Intrathecal synthesis of sVCAM-1 was present in the relapsing-remitting and secondary progressive forms of MS. Intrathecal synthesis of sICAM-1 was observed in all clinical forms of MS. MS patients with progressive forms of the disease and SLE patients were characterised by intrathecal synthesis of sL-selectin. Conclusions: The data presented suggest that (1) blood-brain barrier damage can be assumed both in systemic disease and organ-specific disease (sVCAM-1), (2) clinical forms of MS differ from each other in respect to concentrations of adhesion molecules and (3) similar immunological events in the central nervous system of SLE patients with demyelinating syndrome and progressive forms of MS can be assumed (sL-selectin).