We have measured the concentration of cartilage-derived retinoic-acid-sensitive protein (CD-RAP) in synovial fluid (SF) from the knees of 49 patients with osteoarthritis (OA) and 79 with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in order to investigate the correlation between the type of joint disease and level of CD-RAP. The mean concentration of CD-RAP in synovial fluid was significantly higher in OA than in RA. The level of CD-RAP in the group of patients with mild OA was significantly higher than in the moderate or severe groups and that in the group with mild RA was also significantly higher than in the other RA groups and decreased with progression of the disease. Immunohistochemical studies showed expression of CD-RAP in the cytoplasm of chondrocytes in newly-formed fibrocartilage. Since CD-RAP is mainly produced in young and proliferating chondrocytes, our results suggest that the level of CD-RAP in synovial fluid reflects remodelling of articular cartilage and may be used as a marker to estimate objectively the restorative reaction of chondrocytes.