Genetic studies have shown that individuals with certain HLA alleles have a higher risk of specific autoimmune disease than those without these alleles. Particularly, the association in all Caucasian populations of an impressive number of autoimmune diseases with genes from the HLA-B8,DR3 haplotype that is part of the ancestral haplotype (AH) 8.1 HLA-A1, Cw7, B8, TNFAB*a2b3, TNFN*S, C2*C, Bf*s, C4A*Q0, C4B*1, DRB1*0301, DRB3*0101, DQA1*0501, DQB1*0201 has been reported by different research groups. This haplotype, the more common one in northern Europe, is also associated in healthy subjects with a number of immune system dysfunctions. It has been proposed that a small number of genes within the 8.1 AH modify immune responsiveness and hence affect multiple immunopathological diseases. In this paper, the characteristic features of this haplotype that might give rise to these diverse conditions are reviewed, focusing on the role of multiple gene interactions in disease susceptibility of 8.1 AH.