Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is one of the most common inherited renal disorders with genetic heterogeneity. Mutations of two known genes are responsible for this disease: PKD1 at 16p13.3 and PKD2 at 4q21?23. A majority of cases (85%) are caused by mutations in PKD1. Because direct mutation screening remains complex, we describe here the application of an efficient approach to studies based on highly informative dinucleotide and tetranucleotide repeats flanking genes PKD1 and PKD2. Methods: For this study a series of microsatellites closely linked to locus PKD1 (D16S291, D16S663, D16S665, D16S283, D16S407, D16S475) and to locus PKD2 (D4S1563, D4S2929, D4S414, D4S1534, D4S423) were selected. Short (81-242 bp) DNA fragments containing the tandem repeats were amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The number of repeat units of microsatelite markers was determined by fluorescent capillary electrophoresis. DNA microsatellite analysis was performed in 25 Polish ADPKD families and established the type of disease (21 families PKD1-type, 1 family PKD2-type). While a disease-causing mutation in the PKD1 and PKD2 genes cannot be identified, DNA microsatellite analysis provided an early diagnosis and may be considered in ADPKD families.