Natural killer (NK) cell circulation is subject to adrenergic regulation. Exactly how NK cells are released into the circulation is unknown. In an attempt to identify some of the mechanisms, the present report focuses on aspects of adhesion regulation of NK cells. Results demonstrate that interactions between NK and endothelial cells (EC) in vitro can be reduced by beta 2-adrenoceptor stimulation for as long as the receptor stimulation occurs. The level of soluble adhesion molecules (sICAM-1, sE-selectin, sVCAM-1) in vivo remained unchanged during adrenaline infusion. In vitro analyses further reveal the requirement for Ca2+/Mg2+ in NK-EC adhesion. Blocking studies indicate the involvement of several members of the beta 1(CD29)- and beta 2(CD18)-integrin family, reducing NK cell adhesion by 28 to 39%. Stimulation of beta 2-adrenoceptors in the presence of these blocking antibodies further reduced NK adhesion by an average of 22%. Analysis of NK cell adhesion to various extracellular matrix components demonstrates significant NK cell adhesion to fibronectin but much less to laminin or collagens I and IV. NK cell adhesion to fibronectin was reduced by 50% upon beta 2-adrenoceptor stimulation, independent of the VLA-4/VLA-5 binding site on fibronectin. Together these results contribute to understanding the influences of beta-adrenoceptor stimulation on NK cell circulation and adhesion.