Ischemia (4-hour) followed by reperfusion (4-hour) of rat hind limbs results in local injury as well as remote (lung) injury. It has recently been shown that injury in this model is neutrophil- and cytokine-dependent and requires the beta 2 integrin adhesion molecules CD11a/CD18 and CD11b/CD18. The role of selectins in events leading to injury (as determined by leakage of albumin and by hemorrhage) was assessed either through the use of blocking antibodies to L-, E- or P-selectins or by the use of oligosaccharides that are reactive with selectins. Lung injury was found to be L- and E-selectin-dependent. When the ischemia and reperfusion times were reduced, lung injury was also found to be P-selectin dependent. In the case of hind limb injury involving the crural muscle mass, injury was L-selectin-dependent but independent of requirements for P- and E-selectin. Injury in both organs was blocked by the infusion of sialylated Lewis pentasaccharide, whereas sialyl-N-acetyllactosamine pentasaccharide failed to protect against injury. In general, when selectin-blocking approaches were protective, there were parallel reductions in tissue content of myeloperoxidase. These data underscore the role of selectins in ischemia-reperfusion injury and suggest that selectin requirements may vary with the vascular bed under study.