Background: Recently, a polymorphism at position -174 (G>C) of the interleukin-6 (IL-6) promoter was found to be associated with an increased prevalence of myocardial infarction (MI). The aim of the present study was to further investigate the association of the IL-6 -174 G/C allele status with specific end organ damage, i.e. myocardial infarction in large population-based samples. Methods: Individuals from two Bavarian samples of MI patients (total n=1322) and the population-based Augsburg MONICA survey (1023 unselected controls) were studied by questionnaire, physical examination, echocardiographical assessment and biochemical analyses. The -174 G/C polymorphism was genotyped using a newly established PCR-RFLP. IL-6 levels were measured in a subset of 574 MI patients. Results: In the population-based sample, the IL-6 genotype was neither associated with traditional cardiovascular risk factors (systolic and diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, HDL and LDL cholesterol, body mass index, diabetes mellitus) nor with cardiac structural or functional parameters (left ventricular mass index, ejection fraction, diastolic inflow pattern). Moreover, the genotype distribution of the -174 G/C polymorphism was not different in MI patients (GG: 34.1%; GC: 47.4%; CC: 18.5%) and population-based controls (GG: 32.4%; GC: 48.8%; CC: 18.9%) (p=0.67). IL-6 levels were neither related to the -174 G/C polymorphism (p=0.29) nor to ACE-inhibitor treatment (2.16 with vs. 2.09 pg/ml without ACE-inhibitor, p=0.27). However, patients receiving statins displayed significantly lower IL-6 levels (1.83 vs. 2.32 pg/ml in the group without statins, p<0.0001). Conclusions: This extensive investigation failed to obtain evidence that the IL-6 -174 G/C promoter polymorphism affects traditional cardiovascular risk factors or the prevalence of myocardial infarction in a Caucasian sample.