To evaluate the association between coagulation defects and cerebral venous thrombosis, a case-control study was conducted in 25 patients who had no autoimmune, neoplastic or infections disease and 75 healthy individuals. There were no patients with deficiency of protein C or protein S. Four had resistance to activated protein C (APC) and one had APC resistance associated with antithrombin deficiency. APC resistance was investigated by DNA analysis, and diagnosed by the presence of a point mutation in the factor V gene, which predicts replacement of Arg506 with Gln at one of the two APC cleavage sites in activated factor V. The prevalence of APC resistance was 20% in patients and 2.7% in controls. This difference was statistically significant (p = 0.01) and the odds ratio was 9.1. A circumstantial factor predisposing to cerebral venous thrombosis (such as oral contraceptive intake, pregnancy, puerperium, trauma or prolonged immobilization) was reported in 72% of cases. In conclusion, APC resistance is the most frequent coagulation abnormality associated with cerebral venous thrombosis.