The Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica) is a useful laboratory animal for the study of atherosclerosis. It is small, omnivorous, easy to maintain, and susceptible to either spontaneous or cholesterol-induced atherosclerosis, and it has a low feed consumption and short life cycle. It develops atheromatous lesions with the characteristic lipid deposition and myofibroblastic proliferation in the aorta and sometimes in the coronary artery. Japanese quail can be genetically bred into lines highly susceptible and resistant to atherosclerosis. A nutritional study has indicated that a high intake of soy protein prevents the disease in the quail. Contradictory results of studies with rabbits were reported in the early literature on the prevention of atherosclerosis by lipoic acid. Recently the effect of lipoic acid on atherosclerosis was reevaluated in the quail. A preventive effect of this compound was demonstrated when it was implanted s.c. and slowly released in the animal.