The plasma levels of interleukin 1 beta (IL 1beta), interleukin 6 (IL 6), interleukin 8 (IL 8), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), E-selectin, ICAM 1 and C-reactive protein (CRP) have been studied in 24 patients with acute myocardial infarction in the course of 96 h. The plasma IL 1beta and IL 6 levels were continually elevated during the 96 h study period (the peak of plasma IL 1beta level was 22.2 pg/ml, S.D. 8.6, P < 0.001, normal values of IL 1beta are less than 10 pg/ml, the mean peak plasma concentration of IL 6 was 184.9 pg/ml, S.D. 134.7, vs. normal values of 15.57 pg/ml, S.D. 2.4, P < 0.001). The mean plasma IL 8 level was increased for the duration of the study, the mean plasma IL 8 level was 103.0 pg/ml, S.D. 23.4 (normal value was below 30 pg/l, S.D. 8.0) P < 0.001. The plasma TNF-alpha level was elevated throughout the time of observation without any significant peak. The mean plasma TNF-alpha concentration was 46.8 pg/ml, S.D. 2.13, vs. normal value 4.35 pg/ml, S.D. 1.23, P < 0.001. The plasma E-selectin level reached the mean level of 145.1 ng/ml, S.D. 75.4, vs. normal value 29.1-63.4 ng/ml, P < 0.001 at an interval of 15-42 h after the onset of the symptoms. The plasma ICAM 1 level showed only a slight significant increase during the first 36 h. The plasma CRP concentration increased later than IL 6, and reached a peak at 42 h after the onset of the symptoms (69.2 mg/l, S.D. 29.9, vs. 1.2 mg/l, S.D. 4.7, P < 0.0001). We conclude that cytokines and adhesion molecules can play an important role in the mechanisms of tissue injury in the process of ischemia and reperfusion.