Hepatopulmonary syndrome (HPS) following rat common bile duct ligation results from pulmonary molecular changes that may be influenced by circulating TNF-α and increased vascular shear stress, through activation of NF-κB or Akt. Increased pulmonary microvascular endothelin B (ET B) receptor and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) levels contribute to nitric oxide production and the development of experimental HPS. Pentoxifylline (PTX), a phosphodiesterase and nonspecific TNF-α inhibitor, ameliorates experimental HPS when begun before hepatic injury. However, how PTX influences the molecular events associated with initiation of experimental HPS after liver injury is established is unknown. We assessed the effects of PTX on the molecular and physiological features of HPS in vivo and on shear stress or TNF-α-mediated events in rat pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells in vitro. PTX significantly improved HPS without altering portal or systemic hemodynamics and downregulated pulmonary ETB receptor levels and eNOS expression and activation. These changes were associated with a reduction in circulating TNF levels and NF-αB activation and complete inhibition of Akt activation. In rat pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells, PTX inhibited shear stress-induced ETB receptor and eNOS expression and eNOS activation. These effects were also associated with inhibition of Akt activation and were reproduced by wortmanin. In contrast, TNF-α had no effects on endothelial ETB and eNOS alterations in vitro. PTX has direct effects in the pulmonary microvasculature, likely mediated through Akt inhibition, that ameliorate experimental HPS.