To evaluate the hypothetical link between apolipoprotein E (APOE) polymorphisms and mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis (MTLE-HS) and whether presence of APOE epsilon4 allele shortens the latent period between febrile seizures and epilepsy. A further interest is whether presence of APOE epsilon4 allele has an impact on severity of the disease. Forty-seven patients with MTLE-HS were compared with 62 controls. APOE polymorphisms were determined from lymphocytes by standard methods. Eight patients (17%) and 10 controls (16.1%) were demonstrated to have one APOE epsilon4 allele. There was not any statistically significant difference in APOE epsilon4 frequency between patients and controls (P > 0.05). There was not any difference statistically according to onset age of epilepsy and the presence of APOE epsilon4 allele within patient group. APOE epsilon4 polymorphisms did not influence the severity of epilepsy. APOE epsilon4 polymorphisms had no impact on outcome after surgery. Patients with bilateral memory deficits, bilateral hippocampal atrophy and with bilateral epileptiform interictal EEG transients, were independently compared with patients having unilateral features and there were not any statistically significant differences. This study has found no association between APOE epsilon4 polymorphisms and presentation of MTLE-HS in a group of Turkish patients.