Mutations in bone morphogenetic protein receptor II (BMPR-II) underlie most heritable cases of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). However, less than half the individuals who harbor mutations develop the disease. Interestingly, heterozygous null BMPR-II mice fail to develop PAH unless an additional inflammatory insult is applied, suggesting that BMPR-II plays a fundamental role in dampening inflammatory signals in the pulmonary vasculature. Using static- and flow-based in vitro systems, we demonstrate that BMPR-II maintains the barrier function of the pulmonary artery endothelial monolayer suppressing leukocyte transmigration. Similar findings were also observed in vivo using a murine model with loss of endothelial BMPR-II expression. In vitro, the enhanced transmigration of leukocytes after tumor necrosis factor α or transforming growth factor β1 stimulation was CXCR2 dependent. Our data define how loss of BMPR-II in the endothelial layer of the pulmonary vasculature could lead to a heightened susceptibility to inflammation by promoting the extravasation of leukocytes into the pulmonary artery wall. We speculate that this may be a key mechanism involved in the initiation of the disease in heritable PAH that results from defects in BMPR-II expression.