Isolated systolic hypertension (ISH) occurs predominantly in the elderly, with a considerable morbidity and mortality. Its etiology is unknown but is likely to involve a significant genetic component. The aim of this study was to examine the angiotensinogen gene in ISH. The M235T and G(- 6)A polymorphisms were genotyped by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in 86 ISH patients and 120 normotensive controls. Plasma angiotensinogen concentration was determined in 198 subjects by an indirect radioimmunoassay technique. Angiotensinogen mRNA concentration was determined by quantitative competitive reverse transcription (RT)-PCR in subcutaneous adipose tissue from a subset of these patients (n = 8) and controls (n = 6). Both the M235T (p = 0.0015) and G(- 6)A (p = 0.029) polymorphisms were associated with ISH. Plasma angiotensinogen concentration was higher in patients than controls (p < 0.0001), but was not associated with genotype. Angiotensinogen mRNA concentration in adipose tissue from ISH subjects was significantly lower than in adipose tissue from normotensive subjects (p = 0.033). The association of angiotensinogen gene variants with ISH and the elevation of plasma angiotensinogen concentration in these patients suggests a role of the angiotensinogen gene in this form of hypertension. Angiotensinogen gene expression may be altered in ISH, but this requires further examination.