Inflammation long has been recognized as a hallmark of atherosclerotic lesions, but more recently attention has focused on chronic low-level elevations of specific plasma inflammatory proteins such as C-reactive protein (CRP) and serum amyloid A (SAA), which may not only represent markers of atherosclerosis risk but also participate directly in atherogenesis. This article briefly reviews evidence for and against potential roles of CRP as an atherosclerosis risk marker and in athero-genesis. The remainder of the article focuses on SAA, an inflammatory protein that is carried on, and may fundamentally alter the function of, high-density lipoprotein. Data are reviewed regarding the regulation of SAA by dietary cholesterol, obesity, and insulin resistance, and its potential role as an atherosclerosis mediator. Lying at the intersection of inflammation, dyslipidemia, obesity, and insulin resistance, SAA may play a key role in regulating the contributions of these processes to atherogenesis.