The D allele of an insertion/deletion (I/D) polymorphism in the angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE) gene is associated with a risk of myocardial infarction, and the relative risk associated with the ACE D allele is increased by the C allele of an angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1R) gene polymorphism (an A-->C transversion at nucleotide position 1166) . The relation of the ACE and AT1R gene polymorphisms to coronary heart disease and the severity of coronary artery stenosis has now been investigated in 133 patients with myocardial infarction (MI) or angina pectoris who underwent coronary angiography and in 258 control subjects. The frequency of the ACE DD genotype as compared with non-DD was significantly higher in the patients who experienced an MI and in the low-risk patients than that in the controls (P < 0.05). The DD genotype showed a significantly increased risk of MI (odds ratio 1.85). The frequency of the AT1R A/C genotypes did not differ between the patients and the controls. The severity of coronary stenosis in the patients was estimated by the number of affected vessels (> 75% stenosis) and the coronary score of Gensini. Neither the number of affected vessels nor the coronary score differed among the ACE I/D genotypes. However, the number of affected vessels was significantly greater in patients with the AT1R AC genotype than in those with the 4A genotype (1.93 +/- 0.27 vs. 1.27 +/- 0.99; P < 0.05) (CC genotype was not found in the patients). After excluding patients with diabetes mellitus, the coronary score of those with the AC genotype was also significantly higher than in those with the AA genotype (51.7 +/- 34.4 vs. 18.2 +/- 23.3; P < 0.01). These results suggest that the ACE D allele is associated with the occurrence of myocardial infarction, while the AT1R C allele is involved in the development of the coronary artery stenosis.