Twenty four systemic lupus erythaematosus patients and 17 patients with other diagnoses were investigated regarding the presence of cells producing C1q reactive antibodies in peripheral blood mononuclear cells using the ELISPOT technique. These results were then compared with parallel serum levels of C1q reactive antibodies. Current production of anti-C1q was almost entirely confined to the systemic lupus erythaematosus group. Longitudinal analysis of anti-C1q ELISPOT positive patients showed rapid changes in the number of anti-C1q producing cells, but only slowly changing serum levels of the corresponding antibodies in response to glucocorticoids. In one systemic lupus erythaematosus patient prednisolone treatment had a selective effect on this autoantibody production, as the production of anti-C1q spot forming cells rapidly dropped to zero, at the same time as the number of total spot-forming cells showed only less change. In another patient, self-limiting connective tissue disease was associated with temporal occurrence of IgM anti-C1q. We believe, from these data, that the ELISPOT method for determination of current antibody production may be of particular value in longitudinal evaluation of disease course and therapeutic effects in systemic lupus erythaematosus and other rheumatic diseases.