Platelet/endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM-1, CD31), a 130-kDa glycoprotein member of the Ig superfamily of transmembrane proteins, is expressed on endothelial cells, platelets, and subsets of leukocytes. It functions as a cell adhesion molecule as well as a scaffolding molecule capable of modulating cellular signaling pathways. In this study, using PECAM-1-deficient (KO) mice, as well as cells derived from these mice, we demonstrate that the absence of PECAM-1 expression is associated with an early onset of clinical symptoms during experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a mouse model for the human autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis. During EAE, mononuclear cell extravasation and infiltration of the CNS occur at earlier time points in PECAM-KO mice than in wild-type mice. In vitro, T lymphocyte transendothelial migration across PECAM-KO endothelial cells is enhanced, regardless of expression of PECAM-1 on transmigrating T cells. Additionally, cultured PECAM-KO endothelial cells exhibit prolonged permeability changes in response to histamine treatment compared with PECAM-1-reconstituted endothelial cells. Lastly, we demonstrate an exaggerated and prolonged CNS vascular permeability during the development of EAE and a delay in restoration of dermal vascular integrity following histamine challenge in PECAM-KO mice.