The glycoprotein (GP) L-selectin initiates adhesive interactions between leukocytes and endothelial cells (EC). It functions as a lymphocyte-lectin homing receptor recognizing carbohydrate determinants of the peripheral lymph node addressing on high endothelial venules. It also mediates neutrophil rolling, the earliest interaction of neutrophils with acutely inflamed venules. Neutrophil L-selectin presents sialyl-LewisX (sLe(X)) as a ligand to P- and E-selectin in vitro, and we have proposed that this is a major mechanism of L- selectin-mediated rolling in vivo. In contrast, the contribution of neutrophil L-selectin as a receptor protein recognizing one (or more) ligand(s) on inflamed EC is unclear. To address this question, an sLe(X)-negative murine pre-B cell line, L1–2, that can neither bind vascular selectins nor roll in inflamed rabbit venules, was transfected with human L-selectin cDNA. L-selectin expression in stable transfectants was sufficient to confer significant rolling in vivo. Rolling was unaffected by neuraminidase treatment but completely blocked by anti-L-selectin monoclonal antibody (MoAb) DREG-56. Thus, L- selectin can initiate leukocyte interactions with EC determinants potentially through recognition of endothelial carbohydrates. In contrast, when human neutrophils were tested, rolling was reduced, but not abolished, by MoAb DREG-56. Likewise, treatment with neuraminidase or anti-sLe(X) MoAbs decreased, but did not abrogate, neutrophil rolling, consistent with residual EC recognition via L-selectin. Combination of MoAb DREG-56 and neuraminidase resulted in almost complete loss of rolling, as did removal of glycosylated L-selectin by chymotrypsin. Together with the demonstrable rolling of L-selectin transfectants, our results support the concept of a bidirectional interaction between L-selectin bearing sLe(X) on neutrophils and activated EC in vivo. These findings also suggest that L-selectin may mediate rolling of lymphocytes that lack carbohydrate ligands for E- or P-selectin, although probably less efficiently than through bidirectional recognition.