Objectives. Polymyositis (PM) and dermatomyositis (DM) form part of the idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIMs). The chemokine monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1) is expressed at sites of the T cell inflammatory response in the IIMs. We thus investigate whether genetic markers in the MCP-1 gene confer disease susceptibility for the development of PM and DM. Methods. DNA samples were analysed from a group of 195 UK Caucasian IIM patients, comprising 103 PM and 92 DM. Their results were compared with those of 162 ethnically matched controls. The polymorphic positions of three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and one insertion-deletion sequence within regions coding for MCP-1 were tested. The SNPs examined were located in intron 1 (rs2857657, C/G), exon 2 (rs4586, A/G) and the 3 ' untranslated region (rs13900, C/T). The insertion-deletion sequence was located in intron 1 (rs3917887, AGCTCCTCCTTCTC/-). Each SNP was tested for Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and allelic/genotypic associations. Haplotype frequencies were estimated using the Expectation/Maximization algorithm. Results. There was strong linkage disequilibrium present between three out of these four markers. The majority of controls were in Hardy Weinberg equilibrium. No allelic, genotypic or haplotypic associations were detected when comparing PM or DM cases to controls, or when PM and DM were compared with each other. Conclusions. Genetic markers in the MCP-1 gene do not demonstrate significant genetic associations with the IIMs, and do not discriminate PM from DM in a UK Caucasian population.