Cell adhesion molecules provide the foundation for cell communication, trafficking, and immune surveillance central to host defense. These adhesion molecules which include selectins, integrins and members of the Ig superfamily, provide a recognition system between leukocytes, endothelial cells and matrix molecules. Leukocyte-endothelial interactions initiate recruitment at sites of injury, infection and inflammation. Cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions also influence leukocyte phenotype and function. Dysregulation of these adhesion and signal transduction pathways can contribute to continued recruitment and persistent leukocyte activation with unresolved inflammation. Based on the pivotal role adhesive interactions play, the adhesion molecules provide potential targets for intervention. Selected synthetic fibronectin peptides, which inhibit leukocyte integrin binding and signal transduction in vitro, block recruitment and activation to limit inflammation in vivo.