The E*4 allele of apolipoprotein E (APOE) is a major risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD) but the underlying mechanism is unknown. The low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein (LRP) is directly involved in APOE metabolism and therefore may alter the risk of AD associated with APOE. Two common polymorphisms, a tetranucleotide repeat in the 5'-region and a same-sense mutation in exon 3, are present in the LRP gene. Three studies have reported conflicting association of the tetranucleotide polymorphism with AD. The only study of the exon 3 polymorphism found a significant association with AD. In this study we examined the association of these two LRP polymorphisms with sporadic late-onset AD. No significant association was observed between the tetranucleotide polymorphism and AD. While the overall genotype and allele frequencies for the LRP exon 3 polymorphism were comparable between AD cases and controls, the frequency of the TT genotype was significantly higher in controls than AD (5.7% vs. 2.5%; P < 0.01). Stratification of the data by APOE genotypes indicated that the protective effect associated with the TT genotype was confined to APOE*4 carriers. Although the effect of the exon 3 polymorphism in our sample is small compared to the previous study, this warrants additional studies to confirm this putative association.