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J Rheumatol Suppl. 1977;3:39-43.

HLA B27 in ankylosing spondylitis: differences in frequency and relative risk in American Blacks and Caucasians.


Twenty-eight HLA alleles of the A and B loci were determined in 23 American Blacks and 50 Caucasians with primary ankylosing spondylitis (AS). The prevalence of HLA B27 was significantly increased in American Black patients (48 per cent) vs Black controls (two per cent), but was much less than the 94 per cent found in Caucasian patients (controls eight per cent). The lower prevalence of B27 in American Black patients vs Caucasian patients was significant (p less than 0.001), and indicated that susceptibility to AS is not as closely associated with B27 in Blacks as in Caucasians. No other HLA antigen was significantly associated with AS in either racial group. Among B27 positive individuals, the relative risk of developing AS was significantly lower in American Blacks than in Caucasians. These data indicate that for diagnostic purposes, the absence of B27 is less important in ruling out AS in Blacks than in Caucasians.

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