BACKGROUND: Endothelial dysfunction is suggested to be one of the pathogenesis of cerebral white matter lesion (cWML). Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) plays a crucial role in angiogenesis and integrity of vascular endothelial cell, and altered expression of VEGF gene induces vascular diseases including cerebrovascular diseases. The objective of this study is to investigate whether single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) of VEGF gene confers an increased risk of cWML. METHODS: Total 337 study subjects without history of stroke were included. The presence and severity of cWML were measured on fluid-attenuated inversion recovery image. Genotypes of VEGF -2578G>A, -1154G>A, -634G>C and +936C>T were analyzed. RESULTS: Among 337 study subjects, cWML was found in 208 patients (62%), and fifty-eight cases (17%) of them had overt cWML. In univariate analysis, age, female sex and plasma total homocysteine level (tHcyt) were higher in the mild and overt cWML group than no cWML group (p<0.05). The percentage of previous history of hypertension and the value of systolic blood pressure were higher in overt cWML group than no cWML group. In univariate and logistic regression analysis, none of four tested VEGF SNPs was significantly different between control group, mild and overt cWML groups. There was no difference between plasma tHcyt levels and each VEGF SNPs in control group and cWML groups. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, old age, female sex, hypertension and plasma tHcyt were associated with cWML. However, we failed to find an association between cWML and VEGF gene polymorphism, which may indicate that genetic polymorphism of VEGF does not play a direct role in the pathogenesis of cWML.