Cytokines related to T helper 17 (Th17) polarization are increased in the serum of very early rheumatoid arthritis (VERA) patients and synovial fluid of established rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The serum concentrations of interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, and IL-22 were measured in VERA and very early arthritis (VEA) patients as well as healthy controls and patients with established RA. All three cytokines were increased in VERA patients compared with healthy controls. IL-6 was equally elevated in all groups of patients with an inflammatory disease, whereas the other two cytokines were increased only in VERA (IL-1β) or in VERA and RA patients (IL-22). Dotted lines represent the limit of detection for the assays. Differences were considered statistically significant for P values of less than 0.05 according to the Mann-Whitney test.