A simple and reliable animal model to quantify interleukin-1 (IL-1) production at a site of inflammation has been developed and characterised. This model involves the subcutaneous implatation of sterile TeflonR chambers (30 mm × 10 mm diameter) into the backs of mice. After 14 days, a straw coloured transudate fluid was present in the lumen of the implanted chamber which was withdrawn for the determination of baseline measurements of various inflammatory parameters. A localised chronic inflammatory response was then induced in the chambers by injection of 1% zymosan or Bordetella pertussis vaccine (BPV) (in presensitised animals). The local inflammatory reaction in the chamber, over a 30 day time course, was characterised by leucocyte infiltration, and marked increases in protein, prostaglandin E2, IL-1 and IL-6 concentrations in the chamber fluid. A rapid increase in plasma concentrations of the acute-phase reactant serum amyloid P (SAP) also occurred. This model allows repeated samples to be obtained from the same animal for the assessment of inflammatory parameters and may be useful for investigating the mechanisms controlling the production of IL-1 during the inflammatory response in vivo. © 1993 Birkhäuser Verlag.