Laser-induced fluorescence (LF) has been developed as a diagnostic tool for the detection of atherosclerosis. We have examined the use of LF for the identification of accelerated atherosclerotic plaque growth induced by Marek's Disease Virus (MDV) infection in White Leghorn rooster chicks (R) as well as plaque regression after treatment. Twenty-eight newborn R were infected with 12,000 cfu of MDV. Twelve parallel control R had saline injection. LF spectra were recorded from the arteries in vitro with a CeramOptec laser angioplasty catheter during 308 nm XeCl excimer laser excitation. Significant differences were detected at 440 to 475, 525, 550, 600, and 650 nm in MDV-R (p<0.05). In a subsequent study, 60 R were infected with 5,000 cfu of MDV, and were then treated with either Pravastatin (PRV) or placebo at 3 months post infection. These PRV-R were followed for 6 months to detect changes in atherosclerotic plaque development. PRV reduced intimal proliferation produced by MDV infection on histological examination (PRV-R 128.0+/- 44.0 micrometers , placebo-R 412.2+/- 91.5 micrometers , pequals0.007). MDV infected, PRV treated R were examined for LF changes that correlated with decreased atherosclerosis. There was an associated significant increase in LF intensity in PRV-R at 405 to 425 nm (p<0.001). In conclusion, LF can detect intimal proliferation in virus- induced atherosclerosis and atherosclerotic plaque regression after PRV therapy.