The role of microbial lipopolysaccharides (LPS) in the aetiopathogenesis of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a matter of continuing debate. In this study, class-specific IgG, IgA and IgM antibodies against Klebsiella pneumoniae, Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhimurium and Salmonella enteritidis LPS were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in 100 AS patients, 50 rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients and 50 healthy control subjects. The AS patients had significantly elevated levels of IgG and IgA antibodies against K. pneumoniae LPS (P < 0.001) and IgA antibodies against E. coli LPS (P < 0.05) compared to healthy controls. There were no significant elevations of antibody levels against S. typhimurium and S. enteritidis in the three study groups. In addition, there was a correlation between IgG and IgA anti-K. pneumoniae LPS antibody levels and the acute-phase reactant C-reactive protein (P < 0.001).