Inflammatory proteins may play a role in the pathophysiology of cerebral arteriovenous malformations and their response to radiosurgery. The aim of this study was to compare the expression of inflammatory molecules in arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) with that in normal cerebral vessels. Fresh-frozen surgical specimens from 15 AVMs and three control specimens were studied. The expression of P- and E-selectin, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), platelet-endothelial cell adhesion molecule (PECAM-1) and von Willebrand factor were examined using immunohistochemistry. AVMs had significant upregulation of E-selectin. VCAM-1 and ICAM-1 upregulation was also observed in AVMs. Pre-operative embolization was associated with increased expression of E-selectin and VCAM-1. This study has provided further evidence that the endothelium of AVMs has different molecular properties than the endothelium of normal cerebral vasculature. Inflammatory molecules may be biologically relevant in the response of vascular malformations to radiosurgery and embolization.