The T-cell receptor V beta subfamily repertoires of synovial and peripheral T cells of 8 rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients were determined using the polymerase chain reaction. Three normal controls were included. Some of the rheumatoid synovial samples did not express the complete range of V beta families and lacked as many as 6 gene families. However, these patients showed considerable individual variation in expression. Overall, the data do not support preferential T-cell receptor V beta usage in synovial T cells of RA patients either in comparison to their autochthonous peripheral T cells or to peripheral T cells of normal subjects.