Neointima formation is a process characterized by smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation and extracellular matrix deposition in the vascular intimal layer. Here, we critically evaluate the role of caveolin-1 (Cav-1) in the pathogenesis of neointima formation. Cav-1 and caveolae organelles are particularly abundant in SMCs, where they are thought to function in membrane trafficking and signal transduction events. To directly evaluate the role of Cav-1 in the pathogenesis of neointimal lesions, we used Cav-1-deficient (Cav-1 -/-) mice as a model system. The right common carotid artery of wild-type and Cav-1 -/- mice was ligated just proximal to its bifurcation. Specimens were then harvested 4-weeks postligation and processed for morphometric and immunohistochemical analyses. The carotids of Cav-1 -/- mice showed significantly more intimal hyperplasia with subtotal luminal obstruction, as compared to wild-type mice. These neointimal lesions consisted mainly of SMCs. Mechanistically, neointimal lesions derived from Cav-1 -/- mice exhibited higher levels of phospho-p42/44 MAP kinase and cyclin D1 immunostaining, consistent with the idea that Cav-1 functions as a negative regulator of signal transduction. A significant increase in phospho-Rb (Ser780) immunostaining was also observed, in line with the upregulation of cyclin D1. In conclusion, using a carotid artery blood-flow cessation model, we show that genetic ablation of Cav-1 in mice stimulates SMC proliferation (neointimal hyperplasia), with concomitant activation of the p42/44 MAP kinase cascade and upregulation of cyclin D1. Importantly, our current study is the first to investigate the role of Cav-1 in SMC proliferation in the vascular system using Cav-1 -/- mice.