Adjuvant-induced arthritis (AIA) is one of many animal models of rheumatoid arthritis, a disease characterized by a T-lymphocyte and macrophage cellular infiltrate. We have characterized the development of this disease model with respect to chemokine expression. Increased levels of two chemokines, RANTES, a T-lymphocyte and monocyte chemo-attractant, and KC a chemoattractant for neutrophils, were found in whole blood and in the joint. Surprisingly, levels of MIP-1alpha, another T-lymphocyte and monocyte chemoattractant, were unchanged throughout the course of the disease in whole blood and only slightly elevated in the joint. RANTES expression plays an important role in the disease since a polyclonal antibody to RANTES greatly ameliorated symptoms in animals induced for AIA and was found to be as efficacious as treatment with indomethacin, a non-steroidal anti inflammatory. Polyclonal antibodies to either MIP-1alpha or KC were ineffective. This is the first report to show the importance of RANTES in the development of AIA.