To investigate the relationship between DNA repair gene methylation and chronic coal-burning fluorosis. The methylation rates of O6-methylguanine-DNA- methyltransferase gene MGMT, a DNA repair gene and mismatch repair gene MutL homolog 1 (MLH1) were analysed by methylation of specific PCR (MSP), and the levels of mRNA in the blood of the chronic fluorosis rats and the patients in the region of endemic coal-burning fluorosis were determined by real-time PCR. The levels of mRNA and protein of MGMT and MLH1 in the liver tissue of the chronic fluorosis rats were determined by real-time PCR and Western blot respectively. The results showed an increased methylation of the MGMT and MLH1 genes in the blood of the patients in the fluorosis region that correlated positively with the severity of fluorosis. The mRNA levels of MGMT and MLH1 genes from the patients in fluorosis region were lower than those of a control group, and also showed a positive correlation with the severity of fluorosis. Both the protein and mRNA levels of MGMT and MLH1 genes from the blood of rats and liver tissue in a fluoride-treated group were lower than those of a control non-fluoride treated group. These results indicate that the degree of methylation of MGMT and MLH1 genes is altered in fluorosis disease, the resulting changed expression of these repair genes may play a role in the liver damage caused by fluoride.