Significant amounts of collagenase and caseinase activity were detected in infected synovial fluid samples. Partial characterisation of the enzymes by gel filtration suggested that synovial fluid from cases of infectious arthritis may contain enzymes from both the synovial cells and neutrophils. This finding was also supported by analysis of sequential synovial fluid samples from 4 infected joints. In 3 joints the concentration of caseinase and in 1 joint collagenase paralleled the decline in total nucleated cell count. However, in 3 joints the concentration of collagenase remained high after the total nucleated cell count had returned to normal, suggesting that this enzyme originated from resident articular cells.