Angiopoietin-1 (Ang1) has powerful vascular protective effects: suppressing plasma leakage, inhibiting vascular inflammation, and preventing endothelial death. Preclinical studies indicate that Ang1 may be therapeutically useful in a number of situations, including treatment of edema, endotoxemia, and transplant arteriosclerosis. However, the ligand has also been implicated in vessel remodeling, induction of angiogenesis and pulmonary hypertension, indicating that strategies to minimize any deleterious effects while optimizing vessel protection are likely to be needed. This review surveys the published data on vascular protective effects of Ang1 and highlights the therapeutic potential of this ligand, as well as possible limitations to its use. We also consider the data on Ang1 receptors and speculate on how to maximize therapeutic benefit by targeting the Tie receptors.