Alterations in lipid metabolism and genetic predisposition are major risk factors for coronary artery disease (CAD). Variations in genes involved in lipid metabolism may act synergistically to confer risk or protection against CAD. The objective of the present study was to determine such interactions in variants of apolipoprotein E and apolipoprotein A1 genes. One hundred and forty subjects with clinically confirmed CAD and 100 unrelated normal subjects participated in the study. Multiple regression analysis was used to relate lipid and apolipoprotein profiles with genotypes. Odd ratios were calculated for various combinations of ApoE and ApoA1 genotypes. Prevalence of ApoE 'E4' and ApoA1 'A' and 'T' alleles was significantly higher in patients than controls. Serum apolipoprotein E and apolipoprotein A1 levels were significantly lower in CAD patients than controls. When lipid parameters were related to genotypes, the polymorphisms associated to various markers were in agreement with previous reports. ApoE 2/4 genotype in combination with either ApoA1 heterozygous GA or CT genotype conferred higher risk of CAD. E3 allele in homozygous or heterozygous state in combination with ApoA1+83 CC genotype conferred highest protection (P < 0.05). Thus, it appears that ApoE and ApoA1 gene variants may act synergistically to associate with risk and protection against CAD.