Background: Patients with burns are susceptible to organ failure, and there is indirect evidence that leukocytes may contribute to this process. They may change the expression of cell-surface receptors after certain stimuli, for example, the burn. We therefore aimed to assess the changes induced by the burn in the expression of leukocyte cell-surface receptors CD11b, CD14, CD16, and CD62L on the surface of PMNs and monocytes. We also wanted to examine the dynamics of this activation during the first week after the burn, and to relate it to the size of the injury. Methods: Ten patients with burns of >15% (TBSA) were included in the study. Blood samples were collected on arrival and every consecutive morning during the first week. Healthy volunteers acted as controls. Results: PMN CD11b expression was increased. The extent of PMN CD11b expression correlated negatively to the size of the full thickness burn. Monocyte CD14 expression increased initially but there was no relation to the size of the burn. PMN CD16 expression decreased initially during the first days and the decrease was related to burn size. CD62L did not vary depending on the burn in either PMN or monocytes during the first week after the burn. Conclusion: This study showed that specific receptors on the surface of leukocytes (PMN CD11b, monocyte CD14 and PMN CD16) are affected by the burn. Expression of PMN CD11b and CD16 are related to burn size. Burn-induced effects on the expression of PMN receptors, such as PMN CD11b and CD16, may contribute to burn-induced infection susceptibility. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd and ISBI. All rights reserved.