Characterizing the mechanisms by which West Nile virus (WNV) causes blood-brain barrier (BBB) disruption, leukocyte infiltration into the brain and neuroinflammation is important to understand the pathogenesis of WNV encephalitis. Here, we examined the role of endothelial cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) in mediating the adhesion and transendothelial migration of leukocytes across human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMVE). Infection with WNV (NY99 strain) significantly induced ICAM-1, VCAM-1, and E-selectin in human endothelial cells and infected mice brain, although the levels of their ligands on leukocytes (VLA-4, LFA-1and MAC-1) did not alter. The permeability of the in vitro BBB model increased dramatically following the transmigration of monocytes and lymphocytes across the models infected with WNV, which was reversed in the presence of a cocktail of blocking antibodies against ICAM-1, VCAM-1, and E-selectin. Further, WNV infection of HBMVE significantly increased leukocyte adhesion to the HBMVE monolayer and transmigration across the infected BBB model. The blockade of these CAMs reduced the adhesion and transmigration of leukocytes across the infected BBB model. Further, comparison of infection with highly neuroinvasive NY99 and non-lethal (Eg101) strain of WNV demonstrated similar level of virus replication and fold-increase of CAMs in HBMVE cells suggesting that the non-neuropathogenic response of Eg101 is not because of its inability to infect HBMVE cells. Collectively, these results suggest that increased expression of specific CAMs is a pathological event associated with WNV infection and may contribute to leukocyte infiltration and BBB disruption in vivo. Our data further implicate that strategies to block CAMs to reduce BBB disruption may limit neuroinflammation and virus-CNS entry via 'Trojan horse' route, and improve WNV disease outcome.