Akey aspect of the innate immune system is the ability to discriminate between self and infectious nonself. This is achieved through pattern recognition receptors which directly recognise molecular epitopes expressed by microbes. Scavenger receptors (SRs) have been studied primarily due to their ability to bind and internalise modified lipoproteins, suggesting an important role in foam cell formation and the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. However, the ability of some SRs to function as pattern recognition receptors through their binding of a wide variety of pathogens indicates a potential role in host defence. This review will detail our current understanding of the function of SRs in innate immunity, and in the initiation of aquired immune responses.