HLA DQA1*0301-DQB1*0302 (DQ8) and DQA1*0501-DQB1*0201 (DQ2) are positively and DQA1*0102-DQB1*0602 (DQ6) negatively associated with IDDM. In DQA1*0301-DQB1*0302 (DQ8)-positive patients, susceptibility is also mediated by DRB1*0401. The aim of the study was to determine the association between HLA-DR4 and DQ and the presence of GAD65, ICA512, and insulin autoantibodies as well as ICA in 425 Swedish children with IDDM and 367 controls in the age group of 0-15 years. We found that ICA512 autoantibodies were associated primarily with DRB1*0401 and not with DQA1*0301-DQB1*0302 (DQ8). No such hierarchy could be demonstrated for insulin autoantibodies, which were associated with both DQA1*0301-DQB1*0302 (DQ8) and DRB1*0401. GAD65 autoantibodies, known to be closely associated with DQA1*0501-DQB1*0201 (DQ2)-DRB1*0301 haplotype, also showed no preferential association with DQA1*0301-DQB1*0302 (DQ8) versus DRB1*04. These results suggest that the immune response to different beta-cell autoantigens may be mediated via HLA class II molecules from different loci. Design of the antigen-specific immuno-intervention trials should take into account these HLA-DR and DQ subtype associations.