- The pathogenesis and progression of rheumatoid arthritis involves the production of biologically active lymphokines and monokines. Of these, interleukin 1 (IL-1) has been somewhat of a controversial molecule because it seems to evoke various biological responses in several different tissues. In these studies we demonstrate that three biological properties of human monocyte-derived IL-1 (T-lymphocyte activation and human synovial cell prostaglandin E2 and collagenase production) co-purify. The complementary DNA for the prominent pI 7 form of human IL-1 was expressed, purified, and tested. Any controversy now appears resolved since homogeneous recombinant human IL-1 stimulates prostaglandin E2 and collagenase from human synovial cells as well as activates T cells in vitro.