The present studies were initiated to determine the protein expression patterns of fibroblast-like synovial (FLS) cells derived from the synovia of rheumatoid arthritis patients. The cellular proteins were separated by two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and the in-gel digested proteins were analyzed by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry. A total of 368 spots were examined and 254 identifications were made. The studies identified a number of proteins that have been implicated in the normal or pathological FLS function (e.g. uridine diphosphoglucose dehydrogenase, galectin 1 and galectin 3) or that have been characterized as potential autoantigens in rheumatoid arthritis (e.g. BiP, colligin, HC gp-39). A novel uncharacterized protein product of chromosome 19 open reading frame 10 was also detected as an apparently major component of FLS cells. These results demonstrate the utility of high-content proteomic approaches in the analysis of FLS composition.