A wide variety of mechanisms of anti-rheumatic action have been proposed for anti-malarial agents. The molecular actions of chloroquine have been most thoroughly studied in vitro and in vivo, but it is likely that hydroxychloroquine works by a similar mechanism. Both agents are weak diprotic bases that can pass through the lipid cell membrane and preferentially concentrate in acidic cyto-plasmic vesicles. The resulting slight elevation of pH within these vesicles in macrophages or other antigen-presenting cells may influence the immune response to autoantigens. We hypothesize that anti-malarial agents influence the association of autoantigenic peptides with class II MHC molecules in the compartment for peptide loading and/or the subsequent processing and transport of the peptide-MHC complex to the cell membrane. This model of anti-malarial action provides a method to test additional drugs for their ability to modulate the immune response.