Recent studies of the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have revealed that both synovial fibroblasts and T cells participate in the perpetuation of joint inflammation as dynamic partners in a mutual activation feedback, via secretion of cytokines and chemokines that stimulate each other. In this study, we investigated the role of IL-17, a major Th1 cytokine produced by activated T cells, in the activation of RA synovial fibroblasts. Transcripts of IL-17R (IL-17 receptor) and IL-17RB (IL-17 receptor B) were present in fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) of RA patients. IL-17R responded with increased expression upon in vitro stimulation with IL-17, while the level of IL-17RB did not change. IL-17 enhanced the production of IL-6 and IL-8 in FLS, as previously shown, but did not affect the synthesis of IL-15. IL-17 appears to be a stronger inducer of IL-6 and IL-8 than IL-15, and even exerted activation comparable to that of IL-1beta in RA FLS. IL-17-mediated induction of IL-6 and IL-8 was transduced via activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt and NF-kappaB, while CD40 ligation and p38 MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) are not likely to partake in the process. Together these results suggest that IL-17 is capable of more than accessory roles in the activation of RA FLS and provide grounds for targeting IL-17-associated pathways in therapeutic modulation of arthritis inflammation.