PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Recent publications related to the potential use of synthetic peptides for the management of lipid disorders and their vascular complications are reviewed. RECENT FINDINGS: The potential use of synthetic peptides for the management of lipid disorders and their vascular complications has emerged in recent years. These peptides are models of apolipoproteins, but are much smaller in size than the apolipoproteins. Oral peptides that improve the antiinflammatory properties of HDLs have been shown to potently inhibit atherosclerosis in mouse models. Injection of a peptide with a class A amphipathic helix in a rat model of diabetes dramatically reduced endothelial sloughing and improved vasoreactivity. Injected synthetic peptides have also been described that dramatically lower plasma cholesterol and restore endothelial function in a rabbit model of familial hypercholesterolemia. These studies suggest the therapeutic potential for synthetic peptides in the management of lipid disorders and their vascular complications. SUMMARY: Synthetic peptides much smaller than exchangeable human plasma apolipoproteins but with physical and chemical characteristics similar to the plasma apolipoproteins have shown promise in the management of lipid disorders and their vascular complications in animal models. The initial success of these animal studies suggests that synthetic peptides have the potential to emerge as a new therapeutic class of agents in the management of patients with lipid disorders.