The aim of the study was to evaluate the soluble form of intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (sICAM-1), a ligand of LFA-1, in the serum of patients with spondylarthropathies (SpA) and to look for a correlation with several inflammatory parameters. sICAM-1 levels were measured by ELISA in 25 SpA patients, 20 healthy controls and 20 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Results showed that sICAM-1 levels were increased (but not significantly) in SpA patients compared with controls; high levels (> 400 ng/ml) where found in 28% of SpA patients but in none of the RA or control groups. In SpA, correlations were found between sICAM-1 and erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein and interleukin 6, but not with tumour necrosis factor alapha or IgA. These correlations were absent in RA. In conclusion, these results suggest that sICAM-1 levels in SpA may reflect the acute phase of inflammation.