Gelsolin is a highly conserved, multifunctional actin-binding protein initially described in the cytosol of macrophages and subsequently identified in many vertebrate cells. A unique property of gelsolin is that in addition to its widely recognized function as a cytoplasmic regulator of actin organization, the same gene expresses a splice variant coding for a distinct isoform, plasma gelsolin, which is secreted into extracellular fluids. The secreted form of gelsolin has been implicated in a number of processes such as the extracellular actin scavenging system and the presentation of lysophosphatidic acid and other inflammatory mediators to their receptors, in addition to its function as a substrate for extracellular matrix-modulating enzymes. Consistent with these proposed functions, blood gelsolin levels decrease markedly in a variety of clinical conditions such as acute respiratory distress syndrome, sepsis, major trauma, prolonged hyperoxia, malaria, and liver injury. This correlation between blood gelsolin levels and critical clinical conditions suggests the potential utility of gelsolin as a prognostic marker as well as the possibility for therapeutic replenishment of gelsolin to alleviate the injurious cascades in these settings. This review summarizes current data supporting a role of plasma gelsolin in extracellular fluids and the potential for its use as a diagnostic marker or therapeutic treatment in several medical conditions.