Aims of the study were: (i) to determine the prevalence of mutations C282Y and H63D in the HFE gene causing hereditary hemochromatosis in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and non-diabetics, (ii) to investigate the relationship among HFE genotypes, serum ferritin and glucose intolerance and (iii) to assess possible association of HFE mutations with the susceptibility to develop late diabetic complications in the Czech population. Two approaches were employed - the case-control study comprising diabetics and non-diabetic controls (n = 326) and the cross-sectional study comprising subjects with a previously unknown defect of glucose tolerance (n = 113, oral glucose tolerance test performed in each subject). Allele frequencies of C282Y and H63D did not differ between diabetic and control groups nor among subjects with normal glucose tolerance (NGT), impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and diabetes. Ferritin levels significantly differed between diabetic and non-diabetic women (P<1.10 (-3)) and among subjects with NGT, IGT and diabetes (P<0.05). Differences in ferritin levels related to particular genotypes of C282Y and H63D were not detected. Prevalence of diabetes in the first and second quartiles of ferritin distribution differed highly significantly from the prevalence in the third and fourth quartiles in women (P = 0.000037), OR = 3.50 (95% CI, 1.89-6.48). The extent of diabetic late complications did not correlate with ferritin plasma levels.