The unique arrangement of large numbers of fixed tissue macrophages, endothelial, and pa-renchymal cells along hepatic sinusoids as well as their key role in the acute phase response makes the liver a primary target organ in endotoxemia. Pathogenesis of hepatic failure in endotoxemia is incompletely understood, but microcirculatory failure as well as leukocyte-endothelial interaction in response to inflammatory mediators may relate to it. Using intravital fluorescence microscopy, sinusoidal widths, leukocyte flow velocity, and sublobular leukocyte (white blood cell (WBC)) adhesion characteristics 1 h after randomized intravenous application of 0, 0.1 1, or 5 mg/kg b.w. Escherichia coli endotoxin O 111 B4 (ETX) were evaluated in female Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 6–8/group). Whereas the bolus injection of ETX caused only minor concurrent macrohemodynamic effects, a significant increase of permanent WBC adhesion especially in periportal areas (0 mg, 2.1 ± 0.7%; 0.1mg, 16.2–3.6%**; 1 mg, 15.5 ± 1.0%**; 5 mg, 13.2 ± 2.3%* (**p < .01, *p < .05, compared to vehicle)) was found in all groups 60 min after ETX challenge. In contrast, an increase of WBC margination in midzonal and pericentral regions was only seen with the higher doses of 1 or 5 mg/kg ETX, respectively. The sublobular pattern of WBC margination is consistent with the concept of regulation of WBC adhesion by inflammatory mediators released by lipopolysaccharide-stimulated Kupffer cells in vivo. We propose that overwhelming the detoxifying capacity of predominantly periportally located Kupffer cells with large amounts of ETX may lead to activation of pericentral-located resting macrophages paralleled by a rise of adhering leukocytes.