Continuous infusion of 200 ng/day hrIL-1 alpha for 14 days into knee-joints of rabbits leads to a severe arthritis of low aggressivity. This arthritis shows simultaneously characteristics of acute (serous and fibrinous exudation, polymorph infiltration, etc.) as well as chronic (synovial cell proliferation and fibrosis, pannus formation, cartilage and bone erosion, etc.) inflammation. The arthritis was associated with a distinct loss of metachromasia of the articular cartilage. These results indicate that IL-1 might play an important role in the induction and maintenance of arthritis.