Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a multifactorial process that appears to be caused by the interaction of environmental risk factors with multiple predisposing genes. In this study, we investigated the effects of the XPD Lys751Gln and XRCC1 Arg399Gln polymorphisms on the presence and the severity of CAD. We also investigated the presence of DNA damage in the peripheral lymphocytes of patients with CAD by using the micronucleus (MN) test and the effect of XPD Lys751Gln and XRCC1 Arg399Gln polymorphisms on this damage. The study population consisted of 147 patients with angiographically documented CAD and 48 healthy controls. No association between XPD Lys751Gln or XRCC1 Arg399Gln polymorphisms and the presence or the severity of CAD was observed. On the other hand, a significantly higher frequency of MN was observed in CAD patients compared with controls (5.7 +/- 1.9 vs 5.0 +/- 2.1, respectively, P = 0.018). We found an elevated frequency of MN in CAD patients with the XPD 751Gln allele (Gln/Gln genotype) or the XRCC1 399Gln (Arg/Gln or Gln/Gln genotypes) allele compared with the XPD 751Lys (Lys/Lys genotype) allele or XRCC1 399 Arg (Arg /Arg genotype) allele, respectively. These preliminary results suggest that XPD Lys751Gln and XRCC1 Arg399Gln polymorphisms may not be a significant risk factor for developing CAD. In addition, our results indicate that the MN frequency is associated with presence, but not severity, of CAD and is related to the XRCC1 Arg399Gln and XPD Lys751Gln polymorphisms, suggesting an elevated frequency of MN in CAD patients with the XPD 751Gln or XRCC1 399Gln alleles.