BACKGROUND: Heme oxygenase 1 (HO1) catalyzes heme degradation, and offers protection for several organs, including the kidney. Genetic polymorphisms of HO-1 are associated with poor clinical outcomes in several populations. METHODS: POPULATION: We prospectively enrolled 117 premature infants (birth weight ≤1,200 g or postgestational age ≤31 wk) and evaluated two DNA genetic variants proximal to the promoter region of HO-1 (GT(n) repeats, and -413T>A SNP). We evaluated how these polymorphisms affect two clinical outcomes: (i) Acute Kidney Injury (AKI)-rise in serum creatinine (SCr) ≥ 0.3 mg/dl or ≥ 150-200% from lowest previous value, (ii) the composite of mortality and bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) defined as receipt of oxygen at 36 wk postmenstrual age. RESULTS: AKI occurred in 34/117 (29%) of neonates; 12/117 (10%) died; 29/105 (28%) survivors had BPD. Neonates with TT genotype at 413T>A before the HO-1 promoter had higher rates of AKI (P < 0.05). There was no difference in number of GT(n) repeats and clinical outcomes. CONCLUSION: We did not find an association between the GT(n) tandem repeat of HO-1 and AKI nor BPD/mortality. However, infants with TT genotype of the 413T>A genetic alteration had lower incidence of AKI. Further studies using larger cohorts are needed to better understand these relationships.