The relationship between the apolipoprotein E (apoE) and beta-fibrinogen G/A-455 polymorphisms and cerebrovascular disease (CVD) was examined in the present study. We compared 227 patients with the subtypes of CVD (large-vessel disease, lacunar stroke, cardiac embolism, or undetermined pathomechanisms) with 225 control subjects. The occurrence of apoE isoforms (E2, E3, and E4) and the beta-fibrinogen G/A-455 genotype was determined in these individuals. No differences in apoE polymorphisms or allele frequencies between the CVD patients and control subjects were found. However, analysis of apoE genotypes as a function of stroke subtype revealed that the apoE4 allele was significantly more common in those patients with macroangiopathy-associated CVD. The only CVD risk factor that distinguished patients with the E4 allele from those with other apoE genotypes was elevated cholesterol. No association between the beta-fibrinogen G/A-455 polymorphism and CVD was found. However, homozygosity for the A allele was more common in patients with CVD resulting from large-vessel disease. These data demonstrate that the apoE4 allele and the AA genotype of the beta-fibrinogen G/A-455 polymorphism occur significantly more frequently in patients with CVD resulting from stenosis of large, brain-supplying vessels. Such genetic analyses may further our understanding of the etiology of cerebrovascular disease.