Non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus has been recognized to be heterogeneous in etiology, with multiple subgroups. Several genes or chromosomal regions have been implicated in the development of the disease. In this study the association of HLA class II alleles and genotypes and the association of CD4 and CD3 polymorphisms were assessed in a large number of Belgian non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus patients. Furthermore, the importance of the DQ alpha 1Arg52/DQ alpha 1Arg52 and the DQ beta 1Asp57/DQ beta 1Asp57 genotypes and the combination of both genotypes were examined. Our results show that in the HLA class II genes only the DQ alpha 1Arg52+/DQ alpha 1Arg52+ genotype was significantly associated with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus compared with controls (p = 0.011, RR = 2.02). We also observed that the frequency of the CD4*A4/*A8 genotype and the CD4*A7 allele was significantly increased and decreased respectively in non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus patients as compared with the controls (p = 0.018, RR = 2.16 and p = 0.0003, RR = 0.49 respectively). These results therefore suggest that HLA class II and CD4 genes might independently contribute to the susceptibility for non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and that these alleles and genotypes might identify subgroups of patients with different susceptibilities.