Increasing evidence has been obtained of the special value of Ia-like B-cell alloantisera for demonstrating disease associations with histocompatibility antigens. This was particularly evident for the study of the immunogenetics of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), two conditions frequently considered related. The profiles of antigens recognized by the alloantisera in patients from each disease group was distinctive. Two types of alloantisera were obtained that illustrated the divergence between the twod iseases. One type showed a higher than normal incidence in RA but lower than normal in SLE; the other showed a higher incidence in SLE. While these sera were not totally defined, evidence was obtained that the SLE-reactive alloantiserum related to two alleles of the major histocompatibility complex DRw2 and DRw3, while the RA-reactive alloantiserum related to a common specificity shared by cells positive for either DRw4, DRw7, or DRw10. The data indicate that immunogenetic factors are relevant to the development of both RA and SLE, but that these are distinct for each disease.

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