sE-selectin, sICAM-1, sVCAM-1 and von Willebrand factor (vWF) were assayed in 238 samples in a longitudinal study of 81 normal children from 9.5 to 15.5 years old. Multilevel modelling was used to quantify changes with age. sE-selectin, sICAM-1 and sVCAM-1 all fell significantly over the age range (by 17%, 16%, and 10%, respectively). In contrast, levels of vWF were not age-dependent. Our findings highlight the need for age-matched controls when studying cell surface adhesion molecules in disease groups, and may imply developmental changes in expression of these molecules and their shedding from the cell surface.