Fifty one patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) were typed for HLA-A, B, C, DR, and DQ antigens. The antigen frequencies were compared with those of a normal population and with a B27 positive control group. All but one of the patients with AS were HLA-B27 positive. A positive linkage disequilibrium between Cw1, Cw2, DR1, and the B27 antigen was observed. Patients with AS showed a significant increase in DQw2 antigen compared with the B27 positive control group. No differences in antigenic frequencies were observed in patients having peripheral arthritis and patients with only axial involvement. Seven out of nine patients (78%) with an erosive peripheral arthritis were DR7 positive, suggesting that DR7 or genes closely linked could be related with a more aggressive peripheral joint involvement in patients with AS.
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