Multiple studies have provided evidence for an association between reduced sun exposure and increased risk of multiple sclerosis (MS), an association likely to be mediated, at least in part, by the vitamin D hormonal pathway. Herein, we examine whether the vitamin D receptor (VDR), an integral component of this pathway, influences MS risk in a population-based sample where winter sun exposure in early childhood has been found to be an important determinant of MS risk. Three polymorphisms within the VDR gene were genotyped in 136 MS cases and 235 controls, and associations with MS and past sun exposure were examined by logistic regression. No significant univariate associations between the polymorphisms, rs11574010 (Cdx-2A > G), rs10735810 (Fok1T > C), or rs731236 (Taq1C > T) and MS risk were observed. However, a significant interaction was observed between winter sun exposure during childhood, genotype at rs11574010, and MS risk (P = 0.012), with the 'G' allele conferring an increased risk of MS in the low sun exposure group (</=2 h/day). No significant interactions were observed for either rs10735810 or rs731236, after stratification by sun exposure. These data provide support for the involvement of the VDR gene in determining MS risk, an interaction likely to be dependent on past sun exposure.