Passive calcium ion permeability across liposome bilayers is increased during exposure to fluid shear forces attainable in the mammalian vasculature. In this study, liposomes prepared from three different lipid mixtures (phosphatidylcholine alone; phosphatidylcholine and cholesterol; a mixture of anionic and cationic phospholipids plus cholesterol) are exposed to uniform shear stress in a rotational viscometer. Liposome permeability to calcium ion is estimated from continuous measurement of free intraliposome calcium ion concentration using a fluorescence technique. Calcium ion permeability in the absence of fluid force and susceptibility to shear-induced permeability modulation are positively correlated with estimated bilayer compressibility. Fluid shear forces are presumed to influence bilayer packing and modulate defect formation in proportion to bilayer compressibility. Bilayer defects produced by fluid forces may increase liposome permeability.