Osteoporosis is a polygenic disease, whose determining loci have not yet been identified. Vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene polymorphisms in the 3'-end region (as determined by the enzymes BsmI and ApaI) have been inconsistently associated with bone mineral mass. More recently, VDR start codon polymorphisms (as determined by the enzyme FokI) have been found to be related to adult bone mineral density (BMD) in pre- and postmenopausal American women. We investigated the association between BMD and FokI genotypes in premenopausal European-Caucasian women as well as in prepubertal girls from the same genetic background and examined the interaction with VDR 3'-end region polymorphisms and with dietary calcium intake. Areal BMD (g/cm2) was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry at the level of the lumbar spine, femoral neck, and femoral shaft in 177 healthy premenopausal women (age range, 18.7-56.0 years) as well as in 155 prepubertal girls (age range, 6.6-11.4 years). Genotyping for FokI, BsmI, and ApaI VDR polymorphisms was performed using polymerase chain reaction methods. FokI genotype-dietary calcium interaction was cross-sectionally analyzed in all subjects and longitudinally in 103 prepubertal girls enrolled in a calcium intervention trial. The prevalence of FokI VDR gene polymorphisms in this cohort was 15% for ff, 50% for Ff, and 35% for FF. In the whole cohort of premenopausal women or prepubertal girls, no significant association was found between FokI VDR gene polymorphisms and BMD, even adjusted for age (Z score), weight, height, and calcium intake. Further analysis of FokI VDR gene polymorphisms and dietary calcium intake suggested a possible interaction in BMD determination, since a trend for an association with FokI genotypes was more evident at high than low calcium intake in both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. Furthermore, cross-genotyping FokI and either BsmI or ApaI VDR polymorphisms suggested that the ff genotype was associated with a significantly lower lumbar spine BMD in bb and aa prepubertal girls. FokI VDR gene polymorphisms were not significantly associated with BMD in healthy European-Caucasian females. However, cross-genotyping of the VDR 3'-end and start codon polymorphic regions may provide a further insight into the complex determination of BMD.