Background: Increased matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) 9 activity has been implicated in the formation of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). The aim was to explore the association between potentially functional variants of the MMP-9 gene and AAA.Methods: The -1562C > T and -1811A > T variants of the MMP-9 gene were genotyped in 678 men with an AAA (at least 30 nm in diameter) and 659 control subjects (aortic diameter 19-22 nm) recruited from a population-based trial of screening for AAA. Levels of MMP-9 were measured in a random subset of 300 cases and 84 controls. The association between genetic variants (including haplotypes) and AAA was assessed by multivariable logistic regression.Results: There was no association between the MMP-9 -1562C > T (odds ratio (OR) 0.70 (95 per cent confidence interval (c.i.) 0.27 to 1.82)) or -1811A > T (OR 0.71 (95 per cent c.i. 0.28 to 1.85)) genotypes, or the most common haplotype (OR 0.81 (95 per cent c.i. 0.62 to 1.05)) and AAA. The serum MMP-9 concentration was higher in cases than controls, and in minor allele carriers in cases and controls, although the differences were not statistically significant.Conclusion: In this study, the genetic tendency to higher levels of circulating MMP-9 was not associated with AAA.