In the present study, we examined the relationship between circulating oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and the metabolic syndrome in Japanese patients. Subjects who had no histories of coronary or peripheral artery disease and were taking no medications (n=119; age 57+/-10 years; male/female, 90:29) underwent a complete history and physical examination, determination of blood chemistries and oxidized LDL levels. In stepwise regression analysis, triglycerides (p=0.0001) and HDL-cholesterol (p=0.0493, inversely) were independently correlated to oxidized LDL levels. Furthermore, a significant association (p<0.0001) was found between circulating oxidized LDL levels and the accumulation of the number of the components of the metabolic syndrome. Oxidized LDL levels were one of the independent determinants of intima-media thickness of the common carotid artery, a surrogate marker of atherosclerosis. The present study reveals that circulating oxidized LDL levels are strongly associated with the metabolic syndrome. Our results suggest that elevation of oxidized LDL may be a possible molecular link between accelerated atherosclerosis and the metabolic syndrome in Japanese subjects.