Relapsing polychondritis has been reported in about 80 patients, all white except for five Japanese and one Negro.1-30 The etiology of this disorder remains speculative: it may be environmentally induced, an autoimmune disorder, or caused by a combination of genetic predisposition and some precipitating factor in the environment. If genetic predisposition plays an important role in its etiology, one might expect to see clustering in certain races while others might be spared. To determine whether other races might have the disorder, therefore, is important. The patient reported herein is an American Indian.
A full blooded Zuni was born in 1913 on the Zuni Reservation, NM. Her history included six normal pregnancies and deliveries, a thyroidectomy in 1942 for "goiter," the presence of an umbilical hernia since 1953, and home employment as a silversmith for many years (making Zuni jewelry). In 1957 she first noted episodic left ear