To evaluate the involvement of the expression of parathyroid hormone-related peptide gene in human articular cartilage pathology, we performed immunohistochemical staining and in situ hybridization on specimens of femoral head cartilage obtained from 15 patients with osteoarthritis, 11 with rheumatoid arthritis, and 12 control subjects. Parathyroid hormone-related peptide-positive chondrocytes were observed predominantly in degenerated lesions of osteoarthritic tissue and were less evident in rheumatoid arthritic samples, while the normal cartilage expressed little parathyroid hormone-related peptide. In addition, the level of parathyroid hormone-related peptide expression was clearly dependent on the degree of cartilage degeneration; cartilage tissues with moderate degenerative changes contained more positive chondrocytes compared with mildly or severely degenerated cartilage. In situ hybridization confirmed the localization of parathyroid hormone-related peptide protein and demonstrated intense expression of mRNA of the peptide in osteoarthritic samples. This is the first demonstration of parathyroid hormone-related peptide expression in chondrocytes from pathologic articular cartilage of humans. Our results suggest that parathyroid hormone-related peptide may be involved in the pathophysiology of osteoarthritis.