We investigated the effect of beta 3-adrenergic receptor (beta(3)AR) polymorphism on lipid profiles in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) treated with chloroquine. One hundred sixty-eight subjects were classified into three groups: 61 RA patients, 57 SLE patients, and 50 healthy subjects. All patients fulfilled the 1987 and 1982 classification criteria for RA and SLE, respectively, of the American College of Rheumatology. Demographic data and clinical characteristics of the patients were registered. Fasting lipid profile determination and leukocyte genomic DNA isolation from peripheral blood was performed in all the participants. Screening of the beta(3)-AR gene polymorphic region (exon 1) was done by the polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) technique. Quantitative and qualitative variables were analyzed using analysis of variance (ANOVA) with the LSD and chi(2) tests, respectively. An association between the arg64/arg64 beta(3)-AR genotype and high levels of triglycerides (TG) and very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL-c) was found in three RA patients ( P=0.01), two of them taking chloroquine. Arg64/arg64 beta(3)-AR polymorphism may contribute to increased TG and VLDL-c in RA patients, independently of chloroquine treatment.