To identify mechanisms which might facilitate emigration of HIV-1-infected cells from the circulation, we studied the effect of HIV-1 infection on T lymphocyte and monocytoid cell expression of molecules involved in adherence and translocation of leukocytes across endothelial cell barriers. CD11a, CD18, and ICAM-1 were demonstrated on up to 80% of HIV-1-infected H9 T cells by flow cytometry; these molecules were not evident on uninfected H9. CD18 mRNA was detected in HIV-infected, but not in uninfected H9 T cells. Cell surface expression of CD11a and CD18, but not ICAM-1, was increased on HIV-infected, as compared to uninfected U937 and THP1 monocytoid cells. Increased cell surface expression of the leukocyte integrins was associated with a significantly increased tendency of HIV-infected monocytoid cells to adhere to human umbilical vein endothelial cell monolayers or aggregate homotypically. Preincubating the monocytoid cells with anti-CD18 or anti-CD11a or preincubating endothelial cells with anti-ICAM-1 suppressed these cell to cell interactions. These studies suggest that HIV-1 infection stimulates cell surface expression of molecules involved in leukocyte adherence and transendothelial migration in vitro. Similar mechanisms may influence leukocyte trafficking, in vivo, and may play a role in the localization of HIV-1 infected cells in the central nervous system and other tissues.