We investigate whether a heat-shock protein gene (HSP70-2) is involved in determining susceptibility to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in a Spanish population. A HSP70-2 PstI polymorphism was characterized by restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of polymerase chain reaction-amplified genomic DNA in 90 SLE patients and 117 controls. The PstI site containing allele (B) was significantly increased in SLE patients compared to healthy controls. This was due to a significant increase in the BB homozygous genotype in patients, particularly in those with diffuse proliferative nephritis. Neither allelic nor genotypic differences were detected when compared by the presence or absence of DR3. The HSP70-2 B allele seems tightly linked to the human leucocyte antigen (HLA) haplotypes carrying susceptibility to SLE in our population. An independent role for this gene cannot be confirmed due to its linkage with HLA DR3.