Articular chondrocytes cultured in the presence of recombinant human interleukin 1 alpha (rhIL-1 alpha) or recombinant human tumor necrosis factor alpha (rhTNF alpha) caused increased production of the latent metalloproteinase (collagenase and caseinase) and the proteoglycan release from cartilage. The existences of IL-1 and TNF alpha in the chondrocytes of human articular cartilage were also shown by immunohistochemical staining using polyclonal antibodies. Furthermore, chondrocyte was found to be a producer of interleukin 6 (IL-6), known as a pleiotropic cytokine and thought to be an important mediator of the cell interactions in arthritis. In addition, the production of IL-6 was also shown to be stimulated by rhIL-1 alpha or rhTNF alpha. From our findings, we suggest there exists a very complicated autocrine control system of chondrolysis by the chondrocyte itself.