Early and accurate detection of acute cellular rejection (ACR) is important in the management of liver allograft recipients. We hypothesized that expression of allograft inflammatory factor (AIF)-1 would be associated with liver allograft rejection as previous studies have shown that a relationship exists between kidney and heart transplantation. Indeed using rat orthotopic transplant models we found that the expression of allograft inflammatory factor-1 (AIF-1) can be detected in both allograft and peripheral blood leukocytes with peak levels detected 7 days following liver transplantation. Interestingly, AIF-1 expression increased 2-fold in acutely rejecting liver allografts compared to chronically accepted livers on days 5, 7 and 10 after transplantation. AIF-1 expression in peripheral blood leukocytes was also significantly greater in the rejection model than in the acceptance model. Flow cytometric analysis of peripheral blood leukocytes demonstrated that AIF-1 was expressed in ED2-positive cells, a marker for Kupffer cells. In vitro studies showed that AIF-1 expression in Kupffer cells was up-regulated by coculture with Th1 cytokines. However, neither LPS nor Escherichia coli (E. coli) administration had an affect on AIF-1 expression. These data indicate that high levels of AIF-1 expression reflect aggressive liver allograft rejection and suggest a role for monitoring AIF-1 in peripheral blood leukocytes as a monitor for increased immunosuppression.