[en] Using radio-immunoassay methods, the production of tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin-2 (IL-2), and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) released by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), maintained in culture and stimulated by phytohemagglutinin (PHA), was measured in normal subjects and patients with active or inactive rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Results indicated a dissociation between mitogenic response and secretion of mediators by PBMC under the influence of PHA in both normal controls and in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). While [3H]thymidine incorporation was characterized by a rather bell-shaped curve with increasing concentrations of PHA, IL-2 and TNF-alpha displayed a linear dose-dependent increase. [3H]thymidine uptake by PBMC was in the same range in normal subjects as in patients with active and inactive RA, although cytokine secretion differed. The PBMC of patients with active RA produced less TNF-alpha, IL-2, and IFN-gamma than did those of the controls. In cases of inactive RA, the secretory response varied from subject to subject; mean values did not differ from those of normal subjects, except for those of IL-2 (p less than 0.01). The significance and the clinical relevance of these findings are discussed.