The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPAR-alpha) is a member of the steroid hormone super family of ligand-inducible transcription factors, involved in glucose and lipid metabolism. We screened for polymorphisms in the PPAR-alpha gene and detected two known polymorphisms located in exon 5 and intron 7. These polymorphisms were investigated for their possible association with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and for their effect in carriers of an insulin gene (INS) polymorphism. The PPAR-alpha C --> G polymorphism in exon 5 (L162V) was associated with AD, in that the V-allele was more frequent in AD patients than in healthy subjects. Further data analysis revealed that carriers of an PPAR-alpha L162V V-allele and an INS-1 allele presented with an increased risk for AD. Cerebrospinal fluid amyloid-beta levels were influenced by PPAR-alpha L162V genotype. These results suggest, that PPAR-alpha polymorphism may be a risk factor for AD.