Inflammation and oxidative stress contribute to the pathogenesis of many human diseases including atherosclerosis. Advanced human atheroma contains high levels of the enzyme myeloperoxidase that produces the pro-oxidant species, hypochlorous acid (HOCl). This study documents increased numbers of myeloperoxidase-expressing macrophages in eroded or ruptured plaques causing acute coronary syndromes. In contrast, macrophages in human fatty streaks contain little or no myeloperoxidase. Granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor, but not macrophage colony-stimulating factor, selectively regulates the ability of macrophages to express myeloperoxidase and produce HOCl in vitro. Moreover, myeloperoxidase-positive macrophages in plaques co-localized with granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor. Pro-inflammatory stimuli known to be present in human atherosclerotic plaque, including CD40 ligand, lysophosphatidylcholine, or cholesterol crystals, could induce release of myeloperoxidase from HOCl production by macrophages in vitro. HOCl-modified proteins accumulated at ruptured or eroded sites of human coronary atheroma. These results identify granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor as an endogenous regulator of macrophage myeloperoxidase expression in human atherosclerosis and support a particular role for the myeloperoxidase-expressing macrophages in atheroma complication and the acute coronary syndromes.