Antibodies to human native and denatured types I, II, III, IV, and V collagens were measured using 125I-radioimmunoassay. Mean levels of binding by sera from 30 rheumatoid arthritis patients were significantly higher than those from 20 normal subjects against all of the collagens tested. The relative antibody concentration was higher in synovial fluid than in simultaneously obtained serum. Many patients with gout or various other rheumatic diseases also had detectable anticollagen antibodies. With a few notable exceptions, the majority of the reactivity detected in all patient groups was directed against covalent structural determinants present on all of the denatured collagens, suggesting a secondary reaction to tissue injury.