This study examined the role of P and type 1 fimbriae for neutrophil migration across Escherichia coli-infected uroepithelial cell layers in vitro and for neutrophil recruitment to the urinary tract in vivo. Recombinant E. coli K-12 strains differing in P or type 1 fimbrial expression were used to infect confluent epithelial layers on the underside of transwell inserts. Neutrophils were added to the upper well, and their passage across the epithelial cell layers was quantified. Infection with the P- and type 1-fimbriated recombinant E. coli strains stimulated neutrophil migration to the same extent as a fully virulent clinical E. coli isolate, but the isogenic non-fimbriated vector control strains had no stimulatory effect. The enhancement of neutrophil migration was adhesion dependent; it was inhibited by soluble receptor analogues blocking the binding of P fimbriae to the globoseries of glycosphingolipids or of type 1 fimbriae to mannosylated glycoprotein receptors. P- and type 1-fimbriated E. coli triggered higher interleukin (IL) 8 secretion and expression of functional IL-8 receptors than non-fimbriated controls, and the increase in neutrophil migration across infected cell layers was inhibited by anti-IL-8 antibodies. In a mouse infection model, P- or type 1-fimbriated E. coli stimulated higher chemokine (MIP-2) and neutrophil responses than the non-fimbriated vector controls. The results demonstrated that transformation with the pap or fim DNA sequences is sufficient to convert an E. coli K-12 strain to a host response inducer, and that fimbriation enhances neutrophil recruitment in vitro and in vivo. Epithelial chemokine production provides a molecular link between the fimbriated bacteria that adhere to epithelial cells and tissue inflammation.