Ischemic acute renal failure (ARF) is a common clinical syndrome, associated with high morbidity and mortality, for which there is no specific therapy. Polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN) recruited during reperfusion have been implicated as mediators of renal parenchymal injury in ischemic ARF. Leukocyte adhesion molecules appear to facilitate PMN recruitment in this setting. Complementary studies using monoclonal antibodies, antisense oligonucleotides and gene "knock-out" indicate that blockade of CD11/CD18 integrins and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) attenuates ARF in some experimental models of renal ischemia. These exciting observations may herald the development of novel anti-adhesion strategies for use in human disease.