The N-acetyltransferase-2 gene (NAT-2) has been associated with Parkinson's disease. The genotype associated with slow acetylation has been reported to be increased in patients with Parkinson's disease. Three mutant alleles M1, M2, and M3 of NAT-2 were investigated in 80 patients with idiopathic Parkinson's disease and 161 age matched randomly selected controls from a prospective population based cohort study. The allelic frequencies and genotypic distributions in patients were very similar to those found in controls. In controls the frequency of the wild type allele increased significantly with age suggesting that the mutant alleles are associated with an increased risk of mortality. These findings suggest that NAT-2 polymorphism is not a major genetic determinant of idiopathic Parkinson's disease, but may be a determinant of mortality in the general population.