Recently, restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) of α2-adrenergic receptor gene (α2-C10) digested with Bsu361 restriction enzyme has been reported in US populations. Therefore, we examined the association of this RFLP with essential hypertension by comparing the frequency of specific alleles for this gene in Japanese populations. The distribution of this RFLP was compared with that in US populations. Subjects were hypertensive patients with a family history of essential hypertension (n=56) and normotensive subjects whose parents had no history of essential hypertension (n=46). DNA was prepared from leukocytes. RFLP was determined by use of Southern blot analysis with an α2-C10 probe and Bsu 361. The frequencies of the major (12-kb) and minor (5.8-kb) alleles were 0.30 and 0.70 in hypertensive patients and 0.38 and 0.62 in normotensive subjects, respectively. The difference between observed alleles in all subjects in each group was not significant (χ2=1.33, P<.1). The difference between the overall allelic frequency in Japan and that reported in US populations was significant. This study found no evidence for an association between α2-adrenergic receptor gene/Bsu361 RFLP and essential hypertension in Japan. However, the findings showed that the allele frequency in Japan differed from that reported in US populations.