TNF-alpha is involved in infectious and immuno-inflammatory diseases. Different individuals may have different capacities for TNF-alpha production. This might determine a predisposition to develop some complications or phenotypes of these diseases. The aims of our study were to assess the inter-individual variability of TNF-alpha production and to correlate this variability to a single base pair polymorphism located at position -308 in TNF gene. We studied 62 healthy individuals. TNF-alpha production after LPS stimulation was evaluated using a whole blood cell culture model. The TNF gene polymorphism was studied by an allele-specific polymerase chain reaction. Other cytokines produced in the culture, soluble CD14 concentrations and expression of CD14 on blood cells were also measured. Among the 62 individuals, 57 were successfully genotyped. There were 41 TNF1 homozygotes and 16 TNF1/TNF2 heterozygotes. TNF-alpha production after LPS stimulation of whole blood cell culture was higher among TNF2 carriers than among TNFI homozygotes (929pg/ml (480-1473pg/ml) versus 521 pg/ ml (178-1307 pg/ml); P<0.05). This difference was even more significant after correction of TNF-alpha production for CD14 expression on blood cells. In conclusion, the single base pair polymorphism at position -308 in the TNF gene may influence TNF-alpha production in healthy individuals.