Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex autoimmune disease that exhibits extensive clinical heterogeneity. Several studies have suggested a role for tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) in SLE and recently, the locus encompassing the TNF receptor II (TNFRII), which is a mediator of TNF effect, was amongst the candidate loci suggested by genetic linkage studies of multi-case SLE families. Komata et al. reported an association between a polymorphism at position 196 (R allele) of TNFR II and SLE in Japanese patients. We have typed SLE patients from two different ethnic populations, Spanish and UK Caucasoids, for this polymorphism using a polymerase chain reaction and restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP)-based technique. No significant differences in allele or genotype frequencies were found between cases and matched controls in either population. The TNFRII 196R allele does not appear to be associated with SLE susceptibility in either Spanish or UK populations.