Although HLA-B27 carries a high relative risk for development of ankylosing spondylitis (AS), most B27 positive individuals do not have spondylitis. One interpretation of this observation is that there may be 2 types of B27, 1 which carries the risk factor and 1 which does not. If this were the case, then with the help of markers closely linked to HLA-B, it might be possible to detect differences between the B27 haplotypes in AS patients and those in healthy probands. We studied 197 members of 18 families with known AS and 110 members of 19 families in which HLA-B27 was present without any known inflammatory spinal disease. HLA antigens A, B, and C and alleles of complement components C2, C4, and Factor B and glyoxalase-1 were determined in all cases. Detailed haplotypes were assigned and their associations with development of the disease were examined. We were unable to identify any distinct HLA-B27 haplotype associated with AS; 2 common haplotypes and several miscellaneous ones were found in both groups. Thinking that the development of AS might be influenced by the other, non-B27 haplotype, we analyzed this and found that there was no detectable influence. The data do not contradict the notion that B27 in whites is a single entity and is itself the susceptibility factor predisposing to the development of ankylosing spondylitis.