The mouse has become an excellent model for experimental atherosclerosis research. Until 1992, the diet - induced atherosclerosis mouse model has been used effectively, but the lesions tended to be small and were limited to early fatty-streak stage. This model was also criticized because of the toxicity and inflammatory responses due to the diet. In 1992 the first line of gene targeted animal models, namely apolipoprotein E - knockout mice was developed. Of the genetically engineered models, the apoE - deficient model is the only one that develops extensive atherosclerotic lesions on a chow diet. It is also the model in which the lesions have been characterized most thoroughly. The lesions develop into fibrous plaques; however, there is no evidence that plaque rupture occurs in this model. The LDL receptor - deficient model has elevated LDL levels, but no lesions, or only very small lesions, form on the chow diet, however, robust lesions do form on the western type diet. The creation of apoE - knockout mice has changed the face of atherosclerosis research.