The effects of in vivo administration of high density lipoprotein-very high density lipoprotein (HDL-VHDL) on the development of aortic fatty streaks were studied in cholesterol-fed rabbits. The rabbits received a 0.5% cholesterol-rich diet for 8 weeks. During this period, the HDL-VHDL group was intravenously administered with 50 mg/week of homologous HDL-VHDL protein; the control group received normal saline (0.9% NaCl). HDL-VHDL fraction was obtained at density range 1.063 to 1.25 gm/ml by ultracentrifugation of normal rabbit plasma. Along the study, plasma lipid levels followed a similar profile in both groups. At the completion of the study, atherosclerotic-like lipid-rich lesions covered 37.9 +/- 6% (X +/- SEM) of the intimal aortic surface in the control group, and 14.9 +/- 2.1% in the treated group (p less than 0.001). The values of total and free cholesterol, esterified cholesterol, and phospholipids deposited within vessel wall were significantly lower in the aortas of the HDL-VHDL treated group than those in the control group. Cholesterol accumulation in the livers was also significantly lower (p less than 0.01) in the treated group than in the control. We concluded that administration of homologous HDL-VHDL lipoprotein fraction to cholesterol-fed rabbits, dramatically inhibited the extent of aortic fatty streaks and lowered lipid deposition in the arterial wall and liver without modification of the plasma lipid levels.