Endothelial cells (EC) play central roles in vascular physiology and pathophysiology. EC activation results in proinflammatory activities with production of cytokines and expression of adhesion molecules. However, we have shown before in a model of xenotransplantation that prolonged stimulation of porcine EC with human anti-porcine IgM natural Abs can activate the cells to become resistant against cytotoxicity by the membrane attack complex of complement (MAC). Now we report the major characteristics of induction and maintenance of resistance elicited in porcine EC with Bandeiraea simplicifolia lectin that binds terminal galα(1-3)gal. Lectin- treated cells underwent little or no cytotoxicity and PGI2 release when exposed to MAC. Induction of resistance required incubation of the EC with lectin for 4 h but was not fully manifested until 16 h later. Most of the initially bound lectin remained on the cell surface for > 60 h. EC-bound lectin did not inhibit binding of IgM natural Abs or activation and binding of C components, including C9, but a C-induced permeability channel of reduced size was present. Induction of resistance required protein synthesis, developed slowly, and was associated with up-regulation of expression of mRNA for the MAC inhibitor CD59 and membrane-associated CD59 protein. Resistance lasted at least 3 days, and the cells regained normal morphology and were metabolically active. This induced resistance may have a physiologic counterpart that might be amenable to pharmacologic manipulation in vascular endothelium pathophysiology.