Factors involved in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, thrombosis and vasoconstriction contribute to the development of coronary heart disease. In a study comparing patients after myocardial infarction with controls, we have explored a possible association between coronary heart disease and a variation found in the gene encoding angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE). The polymorphism ACE/ID is strongly associated with the level of circulating enzyme. This enzyme plays a key role in the production of angiotensin II and in the catabolism of bradykinin, two peptides involved in the modulation of vascular tone and in the proliferation of smooth muscle cells. Here we report that the DD genotype, which is associated with higher levels of circulating ACE than the ID and II genotypes, is significantly more frequent in patients with myocardial infarction (n = 610) than in controls (n = 733) (P = 0.007), especially among subjects with low body-mass index and low plasma levels of ApoB (P < 0.0001). The ACE/ID polymorphism seems to be a potent risk factor of coronary heart disease in subjects formerly considered to be at low risk according to common criteria.