Changes in group II phospholipase A2 (PLA2) gene expression in rat liver during different phases of sepsis were studied. Sepsis was induced by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP). The results show that PLA2 activity was increased by 41 and 92% during early hyperdynamic phase (9 h after CLP) and late hypodynamic phase (18 h after CLP) of sepsis, respectively. Western blot analysis reveals that group II PLA2 protein levels were elevated by 53 and 95% during early and late sepsis, respectively. Northern blot analysis depicts that the steady-state levels of group II PLA2 mRNA were enhanced by 39 and 114% during early and late sepsis, respectively. Nuclear run-off assay shows that the transcription rates of group II PLA2 gene transcript were stimulated by 36 and 74% during early and late sepsis, respectively. The actinomycin D pulse chase study indicates that the half-life of group II PLA2 mRNA remained unaffected during early and late phases of sepsis. These results demonstrate that group II PLA2 gene transcripts were overexpressed in rat liver during the progression of sepsis and that the overexpression was a result of the enhanced synthesis of group II PLA2 mRNA. Because PLA2 plays an important role in the maintenance of cell membrane integrity, our findings may contribute to the understanding of the pathogenesis of hepatic dysfunction during the progression of sepsis.