Ten histological criteria were evaluated semiquantitatively in the liver biopsies of 60 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) before initiation of methotrexate (MTX) and were compared with 40 biopsies taken during MTX treatment (mean cumulative dose 1.322 mg). Mesenchymal changes (Kupffer cell proliferation, portal tract infiltration) and parenchymal alterations (nuclear variability, ballooning, fatty infiltration) were very common without statistically significant difference between the 2 groups. Slight periportal and/or portal fibrosis was present in 25% of patients without statistical difference between groups. Central fibrosis occurred in 13.5-12.5%. We conclude that liver abnormalities in RA are not related to MTX treatment.