Inflammation is an important feature of biliary atresia, and recent studies suggest that its occurs in a genetically susceptible host. The intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) is of paramount importance for the initiation and propagation of various inflammatory conditions. Aim To determine whether the Glu241Arg polymorphism in the ICAM-1 gene, which impairs inflammatory responses, is associated with biliary atresia. Methods Between February 2002 and November 2004, 19 patients (mean age 1 +/- 0.4 years) diagnosed as biliary atresia were included in the study. Thirty-eight children with chronic liver disease and a group of unrelated healthy controls (n = 123) included in this study. After informed consent, blood was collected and genomic DNA was obtained. Genotyping was performed by amplification-refractory mutation system polymerase chain reaction (ARMSPCR). Associations were assessed by using Fischer's exact test. Results ICAM G242R A allele frequency was significantly higher in the BA group than in both the CLD and healthy control groups (OR = 4.4, 95 CI% 1.3-15.1, P = 0.03 and OR = 4.8 CI% 1.5-15.6, P = 0.01, respectively). Univariate analysis showed that polymorphism of ICAM G241R polymorphism was significantly related to biliary atresia. There was not significant correlation between PELD score and ICAM-1 genotypes both in BA and CLD groups. Conclusion These findings provide evidence for the possible role of ICAM-1 241R polymorphism in BA pathogenesis.