Aims Lectin-like oxLDL receptor-1 (LOX-1) mediates the uptake of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL) in endothelial cells and macrophages. However, the different atherogenic potential of LOX-1-mediated endothelial and macrophage oxLDL uptake remains unclear. The present study was designed to investigate the in vivo role of endothelial LOX-1 in atherogenesis. Methods and results Endothelial-specific LOX-1 transgenic mice were generated using the Tie2 promoter (LOX-1TG). Oxidized low-density lipoprotein uptake was enhanced in cultured endothelial cells, but not in macrophages of LOX-1TG mice. Six-week-old male LOX-1TG and wild-type (WT) mice were fed a high-cholesterol diet (HCD) for 30 weeks. Increased reactive oxygen species production, impaired endothelial nitric oxide synthase activity and endothelial dysfunction were observed in LOX-1TG mice as compared with WT littermates. LOX-1 overexpression led to p38 phosphorylation, increased nuclear factor κB activity and subsequent up-regulation of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, thereby favouring macrophage accumulation and aortic fatty streaks. Consistently, HCD-fed double-mutant LOX-1TG/ApoE−/− displayed oxidative stress and vascular inflammation with higher aortic plaques than ApoE−/− controls. Finally, bone marrow transplantation experiments showed that endothelial LOX-1 was sufficient for atherosclerosis development in vivo. Conclusions Endothelial-specific LOX-1 overexpression enhanced aortic oxLDL levels, thereby favouring endothelial dysfunction, vascular inflammation and plaque formation. Thus, LOX-1 may serve as a novel therapeutic target for atherosclerosis