Immunization of two cynomolugus and three rhesus monkeys with purified type II collagen resulted in the development of polyarthritis. Arthritis first became clinically apparent 7 wk after primary immunization and persisted for 16 mo. Radiologic examination of the limbs demonstrated soft tissue swelling with severe joint destruction including loss of cartilage and bone. Involved joints eventually became ankylosed with permanent loss of some motion. All of the monkeys developed a response to the immunizing collagen as determined by ELISA of serum for antibodies. Arthritis was associated with weight loss and constitutional symptoms, including lethargy and refusal to eat. One monkey became so debilitated that it was necessary to euthanize it. Histologic examination of the joints showed synovial hypertrophy with pannus formation. A control monkey immunized with type I collagen suffered no apparent ill effects.