Oxidative modification of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) plays an important role in the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis. It has been proposed that the biological action of oxidized LDL (ox-LDL) may be partially attributed to its effect on a shift of the pattern of gene expression in endothelial cells. To examine the transcriptional response to ox-LDL, we applied cDNA array technology to cultured primary human endothelial cells challenged with oxidized human LDL. A twofold or greater difference in the expression of a particular gene was considered a significant difference in transcript abundance. Seventy-eight of the 588 genes analyzed were differentially expressed in response to the treatment. OX-LDL significantly affected the expression of genes encoding for transcription factors, cell receptors, growth factors, adhesion molecules, extracellular matrix proteins, and enzymes involved in cholesterol metabolism. The alteration of the expression pattern of several genes was substantiated post hoc using RT-PCR. The experimental strategy identified several novel ox-LDL-sensitive genes associated with a "response to injury" providing a conceptual background to be utilized for future studies addressing the molecular basis of the early stages of atherogenesis.