Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common cause of abnormal hepatic steatosis in the absence of a history of alcohol use. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is the progressive form of NAFLD. Hyperhomocysteinemia causes steatosis, and the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) C677T and A1298C polymorphisms result in hyperhomocysteinemia. To examine whether the C677T and A1298C polymorphisms of the MTHFR gene were associated with NASH, we analysed the allele and genotype distribution of the MTHFR C677T and A1298C polymorphisms in 57 well-diagnosed NASH patients, 324 healthy controls in a case-control study of Turkish subjects of Caucasian origin. The diagnosis of the NASH patients was based on liver biopsy. The method used in the analysis of genotypes was PCR-RFLP. The MTHFR A1298C polymorphism was significantly associated with NASH (chi(2) = 8.439; p = 0.015) in the total NASH patients compared with healthy controls. The MTHFR 1298C allele (odds ratio (OR) = 2.480; 95%CI = 1.286-4.782; chi(2) = 7.703; df = 1; p = 0.006) was significantly associated with NASH in the total NASH patients. The MTHFR C677C/A1298C compound genotype (OR = 2.218; 95%CI = 1.003-4.906; chi(2) = 3.998; df = 1; p = 0.046) in men patients was also significantly associated with NASH. Likewise the MTHFR C1298C genotype was significantly associated with NASH in women patients with NASH (OR = 2.979; 95%CI = 1.027-8.641; chi(2) = 4.343; df = 1; p = 0.037). In conclusion, the MTHFR 1298C allele in all NASH patients, C1298C genotype, C677C/C1298C compound genotype in women NASH patients and C677C/A1298C compound genotype in men NASH patients were genetic risk factors for NASH. Copyright (c) 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.