The type II collagen (CII) induced arthritis animal model (CIA) provides opportunities to study the nature of autoimmune reactions leading to arthritis and may be used as a model for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Thus, in similarity with RA, the CIA model, when induced with autologous CII, shows a chronic and progressive disease course. The susceptibility to both RA and CIA are correlated to the expression of certain MHC class II allotype genes. In both diseases are autoantibodies to CII and rheumatoid factors produced. Immunohistopathology of affected joints show in both diseases a dominance of activated macrophages/fibroblasts with a significant infiltration of activated T cells and an infiltration of granulocytes. We do here suggest that both RA and CIA are dependent on a synergy between delayed type hypersensitivity and immune complex mediated inflammatory mechanisms and that CIA provides opportunities for studies of immunospecific reactions leading to arthritis.