The presence of antibodies of the IgA class against dietary antigens (bovine IgG (BGG), beta-lactoglobulin, casein, alpha-lactalbumin and xanthine oxidase, chicken ovalbumin and crude gliadin) was checked in the sera of 23 severely atherosclerotic subjects (ATS) and 20 highly selected controls (C). In these subjects an association between serum IgA levels and atherosclerosis had previously been shown. Determinations were performed by a micro-ELISA method and results were expressed as absorbances at 405 nm x 1000. Higher levels of IgA antibodies were found in ATS with respect to C against beta-lactoglobulin (respectively, 113.4 +/- 152.4 (1 SD) vs. 40.0 +/- 34.2; P less than 0.005) and casein (69.8 +/- 35.5 vs. 52.4 +/- 27.5; P less than 0.05). There was no difference in IgG and IgM against these 2 proteins between the 2 groups. Significant differences of prevalence of IgA antibodies were found for the following antigens: beta-lactoglobulin (4 C and 16 ATS over the limit value of 51; P less than 0.002), xanthine oxidase (1 C and 9 ATS over 289; P less than 0.01), BGG (7 C and 17 ATS over 87; P less than 0.02) and casein (5 C and 14 ATS over 60; P less than 0.02). These data suggest an association between anti-milk IgA antibodies and atherosclerosis. Its relevance and significance deserves further investigation.