To assess the differential expression of adhesion molecules ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 in vessels and muscle fibers in acquired inflammatory myopathy, a series comprising thirty-seven muscle biopsy specimens from patients with JDM, fifteen with DM, fifteen with PM and seven with IBM was studied. Histochemical and immunohistochemical tests (StreptABCcomplex/HRP) for ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 (Dakopatts) were performed in serial frozen sections. ICAM-1 expression in vessels was significantly (p<0.0001) more present in JDM than PM, DM or IBM. However, in muscle fibers, ICAM-1 expression was absent in both JDM and IBM, but present in 33.4% and 40% in PM and DM respectively (p<0.0001). VCAM-1 expression in vessels was significantly more present in PM and DM than JDM and IBM (p<0.0001) while VCAM-1 expression in muscle fibers was almost absent in the four groups (p=0.2632). These findings emphasize the importance of adhesion molecules in the pathophysiology of the inflammatory myopathies, mainly the marked ICAM-1 expression in vessels in JDM, corroborating the microvascular involvement in this disease. In contrast, VCAM-1 seems not to play a major role in JDM, as previously described in PM, DM and IBM. Adhesion molecule expression in JDM presents a differential characteristic when compared to PM, DM and IBM.