Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease caused by a multitude of environmental, neurochemical, and genetic factors. The gene for human dopamine D4 receptor (DRD4) has been considered as a plausible candidate for the pathogenesis of PD. Different dopamine D4 receptor allelic forms have variable affinity toward certain neuroleptics such as clozapine, suggesting a role for dopamine D4 receptors in neurologic disorders. To test the hypothesis that the DRD4 polymorphism is associated with the susceptibility to Parkinson's disease, we have examined differences in allele frequencies of different DRD4 polymorphisms in 101 Chinese patients with PD and in 105 age-matched control subjects in Hong Kong. The DRD4 gene was analyzed by a non-radioactive polymerase chain reaction-based Southern hybridization with chemiluminescence detection. The number of polymorphic 48 base pair tandem repeats in exon 3 was identified in each study subject. The DRD4 alleles with high frequencies in the control subjects are 4-repeat allele (72.4%), 2-repeat allele (21.4%), and 7-repeat allele (3.8%) which accounted for over 97% of the total alleles in the elderly Chinese population. The most prevalent genotype in the control subjects is the 4/4 (47.6%), followed by 4/2 (38.6), 4/7 (7.6%), and 2/2 (3.0%). None of the variable number tandem repeat polymorphism showed evidence for genetic association with Parkinson's disease.