OBJECTIVE: High-mobility group box protein 1 (HMGB1) is a DNA-binding protein and cytokine highly expressed in atherosclerotic lesions, but its pathophysiological role in atherosclerosis is unknown. We investigated its role in the development of atherosclerosis in ApoE-/- mice. METHODS AND RESULTS: Apolipoprotein E-deficient (ApoE-/-) mice fed a high-fat diet were administered a monoclonal anti-HMGB1 neutralizing antibody, and the effects on lesion size, immune cell accumulation, and proinflammatory mediators were assessed using Oil Red O, immunohistochemistry, and real-time polymerase chain reaction. As with human atherosclerotic lesions, lesions in ApoE-/- mice expressed HMGB1. Treatment with the neutralizing antibody attenuated atherosclerosis by 55%. Macrophage accumulation was reduced by 43%, and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 expression was attenuated by 48% and 72%, respectively. CD11c+ dendritic cells were reduced by 65%, and the mature (CD83+) population was reduced by 60%. Treatment also reduced CD4+ cells by nearly 50%. mRNAs in lesions encoding tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-1β tended to be reduced. Mechanistically, HMGB1 stimulated macrophage migration in vitro and in vivo; in vivo, it markedly augmented the accumulation of F4/80+Gr-1(Ly-6C)+ macrophages and also increased F4/80+CD11b+ macrophage numbers. CONCLUSIONS: HMGB1 exerts proatherogenic effects augmenting lesion development by stimulating macrophage migration, modulating proinflammatory mediators, and encouraging the accumulation of immune and smooth muscle cells.