The cellular interactions of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which have been hypothesized to contribute to the development of vascular lesions, occur, at least in part, through their binding to a novel integral membrane protein, the receptor for AGEs (RAGE). Studies of human vascular segments show that endothelial RAGE expression at the antigen and mRNA level was variable and usually at low levels in samples from healthy individuals. In contrast, patients with a range of peripheral occlusive vascular diseases, with or without underlying diabetes, demonstrated prominent enhancement of endothelial RAGE expression. Smooth muscle cells and nerves in the vessel wall showed constitutively high levels of RAGE expression that were unchanged with aging (from 1 to 92 years) or by the presence of vascular disease. These data suggest that RAGE is likely to have ligands other than AGEs, and that multiple factors in addition to AGEs impact on its expression. Taken together, our findings suggest that RAGE may contribute to the pathogenesis of a range of vascular disorders.