Chronic periaortitis (CP) is an uncommon inflammatory disease which primarily involves the infrarenal portion of the abdominal aorta. However, CP should be regarded as a generalized disease with three different pathophysiological entities, namely idiopathic retroperitoneal fibrosis (RPF), inflammatory abdominal aortic aneurysm and perianeurysmal RPF. These entities share similar histopathological characteristics and finally will lead to fibrosis of the retroperitoneal space. Beside fibrosis, an infiltrate with variable chronic inflammatory cell is present. The majority of these cells are lymphocytes and macrophages as well as vascular endothelial cells, most of which are HLA-DR-positive. B and T cells are present with a majority of T cells of the T-helper phenotype. Cytokine gene expression analysis shows the presence of interleukin (IL)-1α, IL-2, IL-4, interferon-γ and IL-2 receptors. Adhesion molecules such as E-selectin, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 and the vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 were also found in aortic tissue, and may play a significant role in CP pathophysiology. Although CP pathogenesis remains unknown, an exaggeratedinflammatory response to advanced atherosclerosis (ATS) has been postulatedto be the main process. Autoimmunity has also beenproposed as a contributing factor based on immunohistochemical studies. The suspected allergen may be a component of ceroid, which is elaborated within the atheroma. We review the pathogenesis and the pathophysiology of CP, and its potential links with ATS. Clinically relevant issues are summarized in each section with regard to the current working hypothesis of this complex inflammatory disease.