Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease characterised by pain, swelling and progressive destruction of synovial joints. The synovial membranes of the affected joints markedly increase in size due to infiltration of several cell types, of which macrophages, lymphocytes and fibroblasts are most abundant. These cell types are activated and release a plethora of inflammatory mediators, such as cytokines, chem-okines and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Synovial membranes can be removed from the joints of RA patients (most commonly when the respective joint is undergoing replacement therapy) and enzymati-cally digested, analyzed or cultured ex vivo. Analysing the cytokine profile of distinct populations of ex vivo RA-patients derived synoviocytes can provide an insight into the pathogenic mechanisms underlying RA. Additionally, since ex vivo cultures of synoviocytes spontaneously produce cytokines they serve as an excellent model for investigating the efficacy of novel anti-inflammatory drugs.