AIM Mucosal addressin cell adhesion molecule-1 (MAdCAM-1) mediates the homing of lymphocytes to gut-associated lymphoid tissues (GALT). We performed a semiquantative analysis of MAdCAM-1 expression during small bowel graft rejection. METHODS Orthotopic small bowel transplantations (SBT) were performed from BN rats to LEW rats. Isografted animals served as controls. Animals were sacrificed on days 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 after SBT. Cryostat sections were prepared from grafts, including Peyer's patches (PPs). Indirect immunoperoxidase staining was performed using mAbs against MAdCAM-1. The degree of vascular endothelial staining on high endothelial venules (HEV) in the PPs was graded from 1 (low levels) to 5 (high levels), and in the vessels of the lamina propria from 1 (faint), 2 (low at the base of villi), 3 (low to the middle of villi), 4 (high to the middle of villi), to 5 (high to villus tip). RESULTS MAdCAM-1 expression on HEVs in PPs was down-regulated during rejection. In contrast its expression on endothelial cells of vessels in the lamina propria was up-regulated during rejection. CONCLUSION Alteration in MAdCAM-1 expression may be associated with the development of SB graft rejection. The vessels at the base of villi, which are associated with lymphocyte recruitment, may become sites of intense immune reactivity during the early phase of small bowel allograft rejection.