- The renin-angiotensin system is thought to play an important role in the pathophysiology of kidney disease in diabetes. Previous studies have shown a possible association between the D allele of the angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) gene, known to be associated with higher circulating levels of ACE, and increased risk of developing nephropathy in NIDDM. The present study investigated the distribution of ACE gene genotypes in the general population and patients with NIDDM, the association between the D allele and diabetic nephropathy, and the association between the ACE genotype and involvement of other target organs in NIDDM. The ACE genotype (insertion/deletion I/D) was determined in all subjects, subsequently divided into 3 groups based on their polymorphism (DD, DI and II). The presence of nephropathy was defined by an albumin-creatinine ratio of 30 mg/g or greater (mean of 2 first morning urine samples). In the general population most had the D allele (DD or ID) and a minority the II genotype. There was no association between genotype and hypertension, ischemic heart disease, hyperlipidemia, and cerebrovascular or peripheral vascular disease. In diabetics the genotype distribution was not different from that in the general population. Within the diabetic group, there was no association between genotype and hypertension, hyperlipidemia, duration of diabetes, or HbA1C levels. Nephropathy, found in 81 of the 156 with NIDDM, was not associated with genotype. Diabetic nephropathy was not associated with retinopathy, neuropathy, or ischemic heart, cerebrovascular or peripheral vascular disease. We conclude that in the population sampled, there was no association between the D allele of the ACE gene and the risk of developing nephropathy in NIDDM.