We recently demonstrated that induction of adhesion molecules is tissue, cell type, and blood vessel size specific. We examined here whether the glomeruli, a peculiar vascular system, express adhesion molecules in a specific manner in the murine kidney. In addition, since serum levels of soluble adhesion molecules have been reported to be elevated in diabetic patients, we examined the influence of diabetes mellitus on the induction of adhesion molecules in the kidney. Analysis of E-selectin mRNA expression by in situ hybridization indicated that it was selectively induced in glomeruli by intravenous administration of interleukin-1β, while ICAM-1 mRNA expression was seen diffusely in endothelium lining the small arteries and capillaries or in glomeruli, and VCAM-1 mRNA expression was most prominent in endothelial cells of larger blood vessels. Induction of E-selectin mRNA expression in glomeruli by proinflammatory stimuli was augmented in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice as compared with control mice, while ICAM-1 or VCAM-1 mRNA induction was only slightly influenced. Furthermore, immunohistochemical analysis showed that selective expression of E-selectin in glomeruli was augmented predominantly in epithelial cells, depending on the duration of diabetes mellitus, in KK-Ay mice. These findings suggest that glomerulus-specific expression of E-selectin is related to the development of diabetic nephropathy.