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Adjuvant arthritis (AA) is an accepted model of inflammatory arthritis. Until now, however, there is little information about inflammatory mediators, specifically in relation to the arachidonic acid cascade in AA. Our objective was to study the expression of secretory (sPLA2) and cytosolic (cPLA2) phospholipases A2 in various organs during the course of AA. AA was induced in Lewis rats which were sacrificed at days 0, 7, 14, 21, 28 and 42. Expression of sPLA2 mRNA and protein and mRNA of cPLA2 in paws, regional lymph nodes, spleen, liver, lungs and aorta was investigated. Serum sPLA2 activity increased from 15213 ± 1131 to a maximum of 32455 ± 4109 nmol/30′ on day 21. Maximal increase in sPLA2 mRNA in paws, lung and aorta was observed on day 14, and in the lymph nodes and spleen on day 28. In the liver, trace levels were found with no corresponding protein expression. In paws, lung, aorta and lymph nodes maximum increase in sPLA2 protein was noted on day 14 whereas the spleen showed constant sPLA2 protein level during AA. cPLA2 mRNA detected in all organs, did not significantly change during the course of AA, with the exception of regional lymph nodes where the message increased between 14 and 28 day. Induction of mRNA and protein of sPLA2 in several organs is an evidence that AA is a systemic inflammatory process. The parallelity of the sPLA2 expression to the severity of inflammatory process, implies that sPLA2 may play pathogenic role in AA. Lack of enhancement of cPLA2 mRNA may mean that this enzyme is either not induced in AA, or it increases earlier in the course of the inflammatory process.