Poloxamer 407 (P-407) induces hyperlipidemia in the rat. It was the purpose of this investigation to determine if chronic P-407 administration would produce atherogenic arterial lesions in the C57BL/6 mouse, a strain reported to be susceptible to hyperlipidemia-induced atherosclerotic plaque formation. One injection (i.p.) of P-407 (0.5g/kg) produced hypercholesterolemia in the mouse that peaked at 24 h and returned to control levels by 96 h following treatment. Four groups of mice were maintained: (1) saline injected (C); (2) P-407-injected (0.5g/kg every 3rd day) (P); (3) P-407 injected plus cholic acid in the diet (PC); and (4) mice fed a high cholesterol (CHOL) diet containing cholic acid (HF). Mice from each group were sacrificed following 90, 145, 200, or 300 days of treatment. Plasma lipid concentrations, hepatic CHOL concentrations (145 and 300 day), and aortic atherogenic lesion areas were measured. Plasma CHOL and triglyceride remained at control levels throughout the 300 days in the C group. CHOL of the HF animals plateaued at approximately 225 mg/dl. P-407 produced CHOL concentrations of 600 mg/dl in P mice and 1000-1500 mg/dl in PC animals. There was no lesion formation in C mice. However, by 90 days lesions were present in the three other groups. Size of the lesions progressed through day 300 with the largest lesions (184.33 + 27.99 mu2 x 10(-3)) being present in the PC mice. HF and P animals had lesions of 70.50 + 11.35 and 43.33 + 7.88 mu2 x 10(-3), respectively. This study provides an animal model where atherogenesis has been produced with hyperlipidemia induced using a chemical agent.