Olive oil, rich in oleic acid, could play a particular beneficial role in the anti-atherogenic effects attributed to the Mediterranean diet. Paraoxonase (PON1) has emerged as the component of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) most likely to explain its ability to attenuate the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins. We hypothesised that oleic acid intake might be associated with changes in PON1-HDL associated particles, and investigated the impact, if any, on this association of the PON1-192 polymorphism, a common polymorphism that strongly modulates PON1 activity. Six hundred and fifty-four men randomly selected from the census were studied. Oleic acid intake was calculated from a 72-h recall questionnaire with specific software. Oleic acid intake groups (low vs. high) were created by stratifying the population according the median value as a cut-point. After adjusting for confounding variables, high oleic acid intake was associated with increased HDL cholesterol levels and PON1 activity only in subjects with the QR and the RR genotypes, respectively. Analyses of the variance showed a statistically significant interaction between PON1-192 genotypes and oleic acid intake for log PON1 activity (P=0.005) and a marginally significant interaction for HDL cholesterol (P=0.066). These results suggest that the beneficial effect of increasing oleic acid intake on HDL and PON1 activity at population level is especially observed in subjects carrying the R allele of the PON1-192 polymorphism.