Atopy is generally considered to be caused by interaction of genetic and environmental factors. Recently, an association of a C-to-T transition in the promoter region of the CD14 gene on chromosome 5q31.1 and atopic phenotypes was reported in a population study of school children in the United States. The aim of the present study was to investigate the association of the C allele of the CD14/-159 with phenotypes of atopy and asthma in an adult Dutch population in which linkage of total serum IgE and bronchial hyperresponsiveness to chromosome 5q31-33 is present. We studied 159 probands with asthma and 158 spouses as controls. Phenotypes for asthma (e.g., bronchial hyperresponsiveness, physician's diagnosis) and for atopy (e.g., total serum IgE level, intracutaneous skin test, allergic rhinitis) were studied. In this population, homozygotes for the C allele had a higher number of positive skin tests and higher total serum IgE levels (in skin test-positive individuals) and subsequently, more self-reported allergic symptoms including rhinitis and hay fever, compared with subjects with CT and TT alleles. We conclude that the -159 C-to-T promoter polymorphism in the CD14 gene may result in expression of a more severe allergic phenotype.