Sydenham's chorea (SC) may occur in rheumatic fever (RF) patients without arthritis and carditis. In this study we typed HLA antigens and alleles in patients presenting with the distinct major clinical manifestations of RF, i.e., chorea, carditis, or arthritis, in population and family studies. We evaluated 91 patients with RF for HLA-A, HLA-B, and HLA-DR antigens; of these, 33 had pure chorea, 26 pure carditis, 16 pure arthritis, and 16 carditis plus arthritis. We also typed 24 SC patients and their unaffected siblings for HLA-DRB1 and HLA-DQB1 alleles using molecular methods. HLA-B49 and HLA-DR1 antigens were overrepresented in the total group of patients with RF and in all the subgroups studied, excluding the SC subgroup in which the frequency of HLA-DR1 antigen was not increased. The frequencies of the HLA-DRB1 and HLA-DQB1 alleles in patients with pure chorea were not significantly different from those observed in controls. Similarly, the frequencies of HLA class II alleles in SC patients did not differ significantly from those observed in unaffected siblings. These findings show that immunogenetic susceptibility to RF varies according to the major clinical manifestation presented by the patient.