The liver X receptors alpha and beta (LXRalpha and LXRbeta) are members of the nuclear receptor family of proteins that are critical for the control of lipid homeostasis in vertebrates. The endogenous activators of these receptors are oxysterols and intermediates in the cholesterol biosynthetic pathway. LXRs serve as cholesterol sensors that regulate the expression of multiple genes involved in the efflux, transport, and excretion of cholesterol. Recent studies have outlined the importance of LXR signaling pathways in the development of metabolic disorders such as hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis. Synthetic LXR agonists inhibit the development of atherosclerosis in murine models, an effect that is likely to result from the modulation of both metabolic and inflammatory gene expression. These observations identify the LXR pathway as a potential target for therapeutic intervention in human cardiovascular disease.