The aim of this study is to detect the incidence of the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) gene polymorphism in Turkish asthmatic patients and to examine whether there is an association between the disease and ACE gene polymorphism. In our study, the genomic DNA of 100 asthmatic patients and 88 healthy subjects was analyzed. Genomic DNA was isolated from peripheral blood by using standard methods. The intron 16 of the ACE gene was amplified by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method using primers ACE and ACEX to examine the presence and absence of a 287-base pair (bp) DNA fragment that showed I/D polymorphism genotypes. PCR products were separated by agarose gel electrophoresis and were visualized by a charge-coupled device camera. Serum ACE activities were measured using an ACE kit. The results were evaluated statistically using the chi-square test and one-way analysis of variance. Although the population of patients with asthma was characterized by a higher frequency (30%) of the DD genotype of ACE, they were characterized by lower frequency (48%) of the 1D genotype of ACE (DD, 16%, and ID, 64%, in healthy control subjects). The frequency of the I and D alleles of the ACE gene was not significantly different between asthmatic patients (0.46/0.54) and healthy controls (0.52/0.48). In addition, in both asthmatic patients and controls, there was a significant decrease of the levels of ACE activity in individuals that have II genotypes when compared with individuals that have DD genotypes. ACE activities were increased significantly in all asthmatic patients (67.20 +/- 1.95 IU/L) compared with all healthy controls (60.90 +/- 2.12 IU/L).