The accumulation of T lymphocytes at the site of chronic inflammation depends on a number of factors including adherence of T cells to vascular endothelial cells (EC) and endothelial permeability. We examined the effects of human gamma delta + T lymphocytes on the permeability of EC to macromolecules and characterized the cell surface molecules that are involved in these interactions. In this model, the flux of [125I]albumin was measured across the EC monolayer after a short-term culture with cloned gamma delta cells. Our results show that coculture of activated, but not resting, gamma delta cells with EC enhances endothelial permeability by a cytolytic process. Pretreating gamma delta cells with monoclonal antibodies directed at either LFA-1 or VLA-4 molecules or pretreating EC with monoclonal antibodies directed against either ICAM-1 or VCAM-1 molecules significantly inhibited gamma delta cell-mediated enhancement in endothelial permeability. This indicated that VLA-4/VCAM-1 and LFA-1/ICAM-1 adhesion pathways participate in gamma delta cell-EC interaction.