Joint inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) induces local periarticular osteoporosis. Generalised bone mineral density (BMD) decrease concerns approximately 50% of rheumatic patients. Both types of bone mass depletion can issue from cytokine-induced (TNF-alpha, IL-1, IL-6) osteoclasts' activation, osteoprotegerin and its ligand's (RANKL) function disorders, patients' immobilisation and glucocorticosteroid (GCS) intake, as well as from hormonal alterations in postmenopausal women, predominate among RA individuals. The aim of the study was to compare serum concentrations of marker of bone formation--serum aminoterminal propeptide of type I collagen (PINP), and bone resorption, carboxy (C) terminal telopeptide (Ctx), bone turnover markers in RA and osteoarthritis (OA) patients and in RA groups of different disease activity, different degree of joint damage and the history of GCS intake. A total of 50 RA female patients and 50 women with knee OA were included in the study. Blood for morphology and biochemistry laboratory tests was taken. Joint X-rays to establish OA and RA diagnosis and the degree of RA progression, as well as DEXA BMD measurements were performed. PINP and Ctx concentrations were assessed. In RA patients the number of swollen and painful joints, the duration of morning stiffness, visual analogue scale values and Waaler-Rose's test activity were recorded. The Disease Activity Index (DAS 28) was counted from the appropriate formula. No differences in bone turnover markers' concentrations were noted neither between RA and OA patients nor between the RA group when compared to the one without the history of GCS use. Bone turnover markers' concentrations in RA were proportional to the number of swollen and painful joints. However, no correlation was found between the markers' concentrations and RA activity assessed by DAS 28 or by laboratory means. Ctx concentrations were higher in patients at II degree joint damage according to Larsen and Dale's than at more advanced stages. Ctx concentrations decreased with the disease duration. Serum morphogenesis and resorption markers' concentrations change in course of RA indicating the decrease in bone metabolic activity with the disease duration and progression. High RA activity and severity correlate with increased markers' levels-the resorption one. The influence of GCS on bone metabolism in RA requires further study.