Background Genetic polymorphism in the gene for endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) has been identified as a potential risk factor for the development of premature coronary artery disease (CAD). We determined whether the eNOS 4ab, G894T, and T-786C polymorphisms are associated with premature coronary artery disease.Design A case-control study.Methods PCR-based assays were used to compare the frequency of eNOS gene polymorphisms in 573 Caucasian subjects aged under 50 years presenting with symptomatic CAD and documented by coronary angiography, with or without myocardial infarction, to that of 624 similarly aged community controls without a history of symptomatic CAD.Results We found no difference in the frequency of 4ab genotypes between cases and controls: in the CAD subjects, the 4aa, 4ab, and 4bb genotype frequencies were 1.9%, 24.3% and 73.8% respectively, compared to 2.2%, 25.5% and 72.3% respectively for the controls. There was also no significant difference between cases and controls in the frequency of any allele (4a/4b, 894G/894T, -786C/-786T), or genotype for any of the polymorphisms. Similarly, logistic regression analysis showed no evidence for an association of the polymorphisms with premature CAD or myocardial infarction or any indication of an interaction between the polymorphisms and other CAD risk factors, including smoking.Conclusions In a large case-control study, and in contrast to some earlier positive findings by others, we have found no evidence for an association between several eNOS gene polymorphisms and premature CAD in an Australian Caucasian population. J Cardiovasc Risk 8:235-241 (C) 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.