We previously demonstrated that treatments with rIL-1 beta accelerated the onset and progression of CIA in mice. In the present study, it was observed that IL-1 also enhanced the development of CIA in rats. Like the mouse model, maximal incidence (80-100%) of arthritis occurred within 7 days after the first treatment with IL-1 in rats. Thus, the acceleration of CIA by IL-1 (IL-1 CIA) may be an improved model for the rapid screening of anti-inflammatory and/or anti-arthritic drugs. As a first step to determining the utility of the IL-1 CIA model as a drug screen, we examined the ability of various known anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic drugs to modify the IL-1 mediated enhancement of CIA in both rats and mice. The results of these studies showed that when analyzed in the IL-1 CIA model, rats and mice exhibited differences in their responses to several of these drugs. For example, dexamethasone, cyclophosphamide, azathioprine, various non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as well as methotrexate were found active in the IL-1 CIA of rats. By contrast, the NSAIDs were found to be less effective in suppressing the IL-1 accelerated disease in mice. In both rats and mice, cyclosporine A and several disease modifying anti-arthritic drugs failed to the prevent the development of CIA that was potentiated by IL-1. Thus, in the IL-1 CIA model NSAIDs appeared to be less active in mice than rats. In conclusion, because of the shorter latent period required for the development of arthritis in the IL-1 treated animals, the IL-1 accelerated CIA model in both mice and rats may be useful for screening anti-inflammatory or anti-arthritic compounds.