Rheumatoid factors (RF), which are antibodies (Ab) with specificity directed against gamma (?) globulins, are the commonest auto-Ab ever described in man. Some of them are referred to as agglutinating RF, others designated non-agglutinating RF. Not only do these characterize rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but they are also encountered in a variety of disease conditions, as well as a proportion of healthy controls. Although non-specific for RA, the measurement of agglutinating IgM-RF remains the most useful serological test for the diagnosis of this disease. Demonstration of abnormal amount of serum RF by any method for which the result has been positive in less than 5% of normal subjects has indeed become one of the seven revised criteria, listed by the American College of Rheumatology (Arnett, FC, Edworthy, SM, Bloch, DA, McShane, DJ, Fries, JF, Cooper, NS, et al. The American Rheumatism Association 1987 revised criteria for the classification of rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Rheum, 1988: 31: 315-24), for the classification of RA. Over the course of years, the relative importance of genetic (Carson, DA, Chen, PP, Kipps, TJ, Radoux, V, Jirik, FR, Goldfien, RD, et al. Idiotypic and genetic studies of human rheumatoid factors. Arthritis Rheum, 1987: 30: 1321-1325) and environmental (Nemazee, DA, Sato, VL. Enhancing antibody, a novel component of the immune response. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 1982: 79: 3828-3832) factors in the production of such intriguing auto-Ab has been delineated.