This study investigates the hypothesis that alternative alleles of one or more genes in the central major histocompatibility complex (MHC) predispose carriers to IgA deficiency (IgAD) or IgA Nephropathy (IgAN). Australian caucasian IgAD, IgAN patients, and controls were typed at HLA loci, single nucleotide polymorphisms, and microsatellites in the MHC. Alleles of the D6S273 microsatellite exhibited strong associations with IgAD and IgAN. D6S273*129 and *139 were more frequent in IgAD and less frequent in IgAN patients than controls. The reverse was true for D6S273*133 and *131. Alleles of other microsatellites exhibited weak associations with IgAD or IgAN. D6S273*129 is found on the 65.1 ancestral haplotype [HLA -B14(65),DR1], which has been reported to be increased in IgAD, but the majority of IgAD patients with D6S273*129 did not have other alleles of the haplotype. D6S273*139 is characteristic of the 8.1 ancestral haplotype (HLA-A1,B8,DR3), which was common in IgAD and rare in IgAN patients. Further studies of the 8.1 haplotype in Australian, German and Spanish caucasian subjects revealed that HLA-DR3, in the absence of -B8, is not associated with IgAD. However -B8 is associated with IgAD in the absence of -DR3, consistent with a Susceptibility locus in the central MHC. Provisional mapping within this region is discussed.