Synovial fluid cells from 12 patients with reactive arthritis (ReA) triggered by Chlamydia trachomatis were studied for the presence of Chlamydia DNA using the ligase chain reaction (LCR) LCx (Abbott) and the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) Amplicor (Roche). In addition, peripheral blood leucocytes from 11 of these patients were analysed by LCR. As controls, seven patients with newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis (RA) were included. Chlamydia trachomatis DNA was detectable by LCR in samples of synovial fluid cells from 4/12 patients with C. trachomatis-triggered ReA, and in none by PCR. Chlamydia trachomatis DNA was not detectable in the synovial fluid cells of the seven RA patients by either method, neither was C. trachomatis DNA detectable in the peripheral blood leucocytes of the ReA patients (0/11) or controls (0/6) by LCR. The LCR technique may be useful in the demonstration of Chlamydia DNA in synovial fluid cells.