In addition to HLA-B27, other genetic factors are thought to be involved in the pathogenesis of ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Because of the localization, in the proximity of the HLA-B locus, and the biological activities of TNF-alpha, we investigated the association between AS and a single base polymorphism located at position -308 of the TNF-alpha gene. An allele-specific polymerase chain reaction was developed to monitor this polymorphism. The frequency of the TNF-alpha alleles was determined in 66 AS patients and 37 healthy controls. The TNF-alpha allele frequency was not significantly different between AS patients and controls.