Chemokine receptors play a crucial role in the recruitment of leucocyte subsets into inflamed tissue. Using FACS analysis we have studied the surface expression of different CC- and CXC-chemokine receptors on synovial fluid (SF) and peripheral blood leucocytes from 20 patients with various forms of arthritis. In the SF the majority T cells stained positive for CCR5 (93%) and CCR2 (57%), compared to the peripheral blood (36% and 25%). In addition, most of the T cells expressed CXCR4 in both compartments, with a somewhat higher percentage in the SF (90%) versus peripheral blood (83%). To date little information is available on chemokine receptor expression on monocytes in arthritis. We report a marked increase of CCR5(+) monocytes in the SF (87%) compared to the peripheral blood (22%). In contrast, the frequency of CXCR1(+), CXCR2(+), CXCR4(+) and CCR1(+) monocytes was considerably lower in the SF than in the peripheral blood. Moreover, we report the expression CXCR4 on neutrophils in the SF. Approximately 60% of neutrophils stained positive for CXCR4 in the SF, while in the peripheral blood the number of CXCR4(+) neutrophils was low (24%). Surface expression of CXCR1 and CXCR2 was significantly reduced on SF neutrophils (53% and 68%) compared to the peripheral blood. Chemokine receptors are differentially expressed on leucocyte subsets in arthritis. The identification of their pattern of expression might help to identify suitable targets for therapeutic intervention.