Recently CC chemokine receptor 5 (CCR5) related immune mechanisms and a functional mutation of the CCR5 gene have been implicated in hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in a cohort of predominantly hemophiliac patients. The present study investigated the frequency and clinical consequences of the CCR5 Delta32 mutation in two genetically homogeneous populations of HCV infected patients with a different risk profile for infection. Genomic DNA samples from 333 German patients with chronic HCV infection were screened by PCR for the presence of the CCR5 Delta32 polymorphism. In-hospital patients admitted for other diseases than viral hepatitis but with a comparable risk for HCV exposure were used as control population ( n=125). Allele frequencies of CCR5 Delta32 polymorphism did not differ significantly between the two groups (7.6% and 9.5%, respectively) and control subjects (10.4%), and did not deviate from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium in any group. Furthermore, there were no major differences between patients with respect to HCV genotypes, viral loads, liver enzymes, or fibrosis scores in relation to the presence or absence of the heterozygous CCR5 Delta32 mutation. Differences in inflammatory scores in liver biopsy samples and response to antiviral therapy in CCR5 Delta32 heterozygotes in one cohort could neither be reproduced in the other group of patients nor when both cohorts were pooled. These results argue against a strong effect of the CCR5 Delta32 deletion regarding these phenotypes. In conclusion, we found no increased frequency of the CCR5 Delta32 polymorphism in two independent cohorts of patients with HCV infection but without hemophilia as the main risk factor for infection. As the major difference to investigations demonstrating an association between CCR5 Delta32 and HCV infection is the selection of cases and controls, our study emphasizes the importance of epidemiological criteria for association studies of HCV infection.