Methionine synthase (MS) encodes an enzyme that catalyzes the remethylation of homocysteine to methionine using a methyl group donated by 5-methyltetrahydrofolate, which is the major circulating form of folate in the body. Functional genetic variants of the MS may alter total homocysteine (tHcy) as well as folate levels which are independent risk factors for vascular disease. The influence of a common genetic polymorphism (2756A-->G, D919G) of the MS gene on plasma tHcy and folate levels and its relation to the risk of myocardial infarction (MI) in a prospective study of male physicians in the US was investigated. A nested case-control study was conducted within the Physicians' Health Study which was originally designed as a double-blind trial of aspirin and beta-carotene among 22071 US male physicians, aged 40-84 years in 1982. Sixty-eight percent of participants also donated a blood sample. The study included 387 incident MI case and 767 controls matched on age, smoking status, and time from randomization in 6-month intervals. Individuals with GG genotype had a non-significant reduction of MI risk (RR 0.51, 95% CI 0.17-1.16) compared to individuals with DD genotype after adjusting for MI risk factors. The MS polymorphism was associated with decreased tHcy (10.55, 9.87 and 9.57 nmol/ml for DD, DG and GG genotypes, respectively) and increased folate levels (3.95, 3.78, 7.31 ng/ml for DD, DG and GG genotypes, respectively) only among controls but not cases. It was concluded that influence of the MS (D919G) polymorphism on the plasma tHcy and folate levels is at most moderate, but should be further investigated in other large prospective studies.