The objective of this study was to investigate the expression of IL-23 and IL-17 and the influence of IL-23 on IL-17 production in ankylosing spondylitis (AS) patients. IL-23 and IL-17 levels in the serum and supernatants of cultured peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were determined by ELISA. IL-23p19 mRNA expression in PBMCs were analyzed using RT-PCR. The patients with AS at active stage showed elevated levels of IL-23 and IL-17 in the serum and supernatants of cultured PBMCs. A higher expression of IL-23p19 mRNA in PBMCs of AS patients was also observed. A significantly enhanced production of IL-17 in the supernatants of cultured PBMCs was found in the presence of recombinant IL-23 and this effect was more significant in patients with AS. The results suggest that IL-23 and IL-17 may play critical roles in the pathogenesis of AS and IL-23-stimulated production of IL-17 by PBMCs may be responsible for the development of AS.