Association of HLA-DR2 genes/gene products has been shown with pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) patients in India. In the present study, the influence of HLA-DR2 and non-DR2 genes/gene products on immunity to tuberculosis has been studied. Plasma samples of -DR2 positive patients (active and inactive TB) showed a higher antibody titre to Mycobacterium tuberculosis culture filtrate antigens than non-DR2 (-DR2 negative) patients. Immunoblot analysis revealed a trend towards an increased percentage of DR2 positive patients recognizing 38, 32/34 and 30/31 kDa antigens of M. tuberculosis than DR2 negative patients. A low spontaneous lymphoproliferative response (without antigen stimulation) was seen in HLA-DR2 positive active TB patients than HLA-DR2 negative patients. However, the antigen stimulated lymphocyte response was higher in the -DR2 positive patients (active and inactive TB) when compared to non-DR2 patients. Further, an inversional correlation between antibody titre and spontaneous as well as antigen induced lymphocyte response (measured by 3H thymidine uptake and expressed as counts per minute) was seen in HLA-DR2 positive active PTB patients than non-DR2 patients. The present study suggests that HLA-DR2 genes/gene products may be associated with a regulatory role in the mechanism of disease susceptibility to tuberculosis. The genes while augmenting the humoral immune response, they suppress the spontaneous and antigen induced lymphocyte response in -DR2 positive patients with active disease.