Apart from genes in the HLA complex (IDDM1) and the variable number of tandem repeats in the 5' region of the insulin gene (INS VNTR, IDDM2), several other loci have been proposed to contribute to IDDM susceptibility. Recently, linkage and association have been shown between the cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) gene on chromosome 2q and IDDM. In a registry-based group of 525 recent-onset IDDM patients <40 years old we investigated the possible interactions of a CTLA-4 gene A-to-G transition polymorphism with age at clinical disease onset and with the presence or absence of established genetic (HLA-DQ, INS VNTR) and immune disease markers (autoantibodies against islet cell cytoplasm (ICA); insulin (IAA); glutamate decarboxylase (GAD65-Ab); IA-2 protein tyrosine phosphatase (IA-2-Ab)) determined within the first week of insulin treatment. In new-onset IDDM patients. G-allele-containing CTLA-4 genotypes (relative risk (RR)= 1.5; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.2-2.0; P < 0.005) were not preferentially associated with age at clinical presentation or with the presence of other genetic (HLA-DR3 or DR4 alleles; HLA-DQA1*0301-DQB1*0302 and/or DQA1*0501-DQB1*0201 risk haplotypes; INS VNTR I/I risk genotype) or immune (ICA, IAA, IA-2-Ab, GAD65-Ab) markers of diabetes. For 151 patients, thyrogastric autoantibodies (anti-thyroid peroxidase, anti-thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) receptor, anti-parietal cell, anti-intrinsic factor) were determined, but association between CTLA-4 risk genotypes and markers of polyendocrine autoimmunity could not be demonstrated before or after stratification for HLA- or INS-linked risk. In conclusion, the presence of a G-containing CTLA-4 genotype confers a moderate but significant RR for IDDM that is independent of age and genetic or immune disease markers.