Increasing evidence supports an association between inflammation and plaque rupture. Macrophages and vascular smooth muscle cells are a source of cytokines and growth factors, which contribute to ongoing inflammation during atherogenesis. In a rabbit model of atherosclerosis, we evaluated the effect of the ACE inhibitor quinapril on different parameters implicated in the pathogenesis of the plaque, such as the presence of chemokines (interleukin-8, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1), collagen I, and vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation (PDGF-B). Since nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) has been implicated in the control of chemokine transcription and cell proliferation, we also investigated its activation and localization in the lesion. Quinapril administration for 28 days caused a down-regulation in arterial expression of interleukin-8 and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (mRNA and protein). However, collagen I expression (mRNA and protein) was not modified. PDGF-B expression was reduced in both the intima and the media. Active NF-kappaB, found in both macrophages and vascular smooth muscle cells, was also reduced by quinapril. Nevertheless, no significant changes were noted in the mild neointima formation, although a certain trend toward normalization was found in the quinapril-treated group. In conclusion, our results show that quinapril treatment attenuates several parameters associated with inflammation within the atherosclerotic lesions that are controlled by NF-kappaB, although it has no effect on collagen I expression. Both effects could contribute to the stabilization of the atherosclerotic plaque.