The transcription factor ETS-1 is a critical mediator of vascular inflammation and hypertrophy in hypertension. We tested the hypothesis that ETS-1 is a mediator of proinflammatory responses and neointimal hyperplasia after balloon injury of the carotid artery. For this study, we took advantage of the availability of an ETS-1 dominant-negative (DN) peptide. Sprague-Dawley rats were assigned to treatment with ETS-1 DN, a mutant peptide (ETS-1 MU), or vehicle (Veh) and subjected to balloon injury of the carotid artery. After 2, 24 hours, and 14 days, the rats were euthanized, and both carotid arteries were processed for real-time polymerase chain reaction (2 hours), immunofluorescence and immunohistochemistry (24 hours), and morphometric analysis (14 days). ETS-1 mRNA was up regulated (2.4-fold) in injured carotid arteries. By immunofluorescence, we confirmed increased nuclear expression of ETS-1 24 hours postinjury. The carotid artery mRNA expression of monocyte chemotactic protein-1, cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractant-2, P-selectin, E-selectin, vascular cell adhesion molecule, and intercellular adhesion molecule was increased 2 hours after injury. ETS-1 DN but not ETS-1 MU significantly reduced mRNA and protein expression for monocyte chemotactic protein-1, P-selectin, and E-selectin in injured arteries. These changes were accompanied by concomitant reductions in vascular monocyte and leukocyte infiltration. Moreover, treatment with ETS-1 DN but not ETS-1 MU resulted in a 50% reduction in neointima formation at day 14 after balloon injury. This study unveils the role of ETS-1 as a mediator of inflammation and neointima formation in a model of carotid artery balloon injury and may result in the development of novel strategies in the treatment of vascular injury. © 2010 American Heart Association, Inc.