Ultra-pure short ragweed pollen allergen Ra5 (5,000 mol wt) was used to investigate the relationship between human leukocyte antigen (HLA) type and IgE and IgG antibody (Ab) responses to Ra5 in two groups of Caucasian subjects, totaling 447 people. Using highly sensitive radioimmunoassay procedures to measure serum IgE and IgG Ab, qualitative responses to Ra5 in both groups were found to be strongly associated with HLA-Dw2 (P less than 0.0001). For example, 95% of 38 people with IgE Ab vs. 22% of 139 ragweed-allergic persons having no detectable IgE Ab to Ra5 were Dw2+. Quantitative log [IgE Ab] and log[IgG Ab] responses to Ra5 were highly correlated with Dw2 (P = 10(-5) to 10(-14)) in four separate multiple regression analyses, examining the relationship between HLA type (and other variables) and Ab levels in the two study groups. Further studies showed that the primary association of Ra5 response was with Dw2 rather than DR2 and that various combinations of A3, B7, and Dw2 were less strongly associated than Dw2 alone.

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