Peptidoglycan-polysaccharide complexes were isolated from feces of a healthy subject and from ileostomy fluid from 5 patients. Peptidoglycan-polysaccharide complexes were tested for arthritogenicity in a rat model, by subcutaneous injection in Freund's incomplete adjuvant. Complexes from the healthy subject did not induce arthritis, but those from ileostomy fluid of 1 of the patients induced severe, chronic joint inflammation. We concluded that peptidoglycan-polysaccharide complexes from intestinal flora are potentially arthritogenic in rats. This arthritogenicity may be influenced by the content of muramic acid and rhamnose in these complexes.