Chronic inflammation plays a major role in atherogenesis and understanding the role of inflammation and its resolution will offer novel approaches to interfere with atherogenesis. The 15(S)-lipoxygenase (15-LOX) plays a janus-role in inflammation with pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory effects in cell cultures and primary cells and even opposite effects on atherosclerosis in two different animal species. There is evidence for a pro-atherosclerotic effect of 15-LOX including the direct contribution to LDL oxidation and to the recruitment of monocytes to the vessel wall, its role in angiotensin II mediated mechanisms and in vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation. In contrast to the pro-atherosclerotic effects of 15-LOX, there is also a broad line of evidence that 15-LOX metabolites of arachidonic and linoleic acid have anti-inflammatory effects. The 15-LOX arachidonic acid metabolite 15-HETE inhibits superoxide production and polymorphonuclear neutrophil (PMN) migration across cytokine-activated endothelium and can be further metabolized to the anti-inflammatory lipoxins. These promote vasorelaxation in the aorta and counteract the action of most other pro-inflammatory factors like leukotrienes and prostanoids. Anti-atherogenic properties are also reported for the linoleic acid oxidation product 13-HODE through inhibition of adhesion of several blood cells to the endothelium. Furthermore, there is evidence that 15-LOX is involved in the metabolism of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) leading to a family of anti-inflammatory resolvins and protectins. From these cell culture and animal studies the role of the 15-LOX in human atherosclerosis cannot be predicted. However, recent genetic studies characterized the 15-LOX haplotypes in Caucasians and discovered a functional polymorphism in the human 15-LOX promoter. This will now allow large studies to investigate an association of 15-LOX with coronary artery disease and to answer the question whether 15-LOX is pro- or anti-atherogenic in humans.