The present study was carried out to evaluate the anti-atherogenic effect of Njavara rice bran oil (NjRBO) on atherosclerosis by modulating enzymes and genes involved in lipid metabolism in rats fed a high-cholesterol diet (HCD). Adult male rats (Sprague–Dawley strain, weighing 100–120 g) were divided into three groups of nine animals each. Group I served as the control, group II were fed a HCD and group III were fed a HCD and NjRBO (100 mg/kg body weight). The study duration was 60 d. Serum and tissue lipid profile, atherogenic index, enzymes of lipid metabolism, plasma C-reactive protein levels, serum paraoxonase and arylesterase activities, thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances, gene and protein expression of paraoxonase 1 (PON1), PPARα, ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1), apoB and apoA1 in the liver were quantified. Total cholesterol, TAG, phospholipid, NEFA, LDL-cholesterol concentrations in the serum and liver, lipogenic enzyme activities, hepatic 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase activity and atherogenic index were significantly increased in HCD-fed rats, but they decreased after treatment with NjRBO. HDL-cholesterol level and lecithin cholesterol acyl transferase activity were increased in the NjRBO-treated group, but decreased in the HCD-fed group. The expression levels of ABCA1, apoA1, PON1 and PPARα were found to be significantly increased in NjRBO-treated group compared with the HCD-fed group; however, the expression level of apoB was found to be higher in HCD-fed group and lower in the NjRBO-treated group. These data suggest that NjRBO possesses an anti-atherogenic property by modulating lipid metabolism and up-regulating genes involved in reverse cholesterol transport and antioxidative defence mechanism through the induction of the gene expression PON1.