Mouse lines selected for maximal (AIRmax) or minimal acute inflammatory reaction (AIRmin) were used to characterize the immune response and the influence of genetic background during pristane-induced arthritis (PIA). Susceptible AIRmax mice demonstrated exacerbated cellular profiles during PIA, with intense infiltration of lymphocytes, as well as monocytes/macrophages and neutrophils, producing higher levels of IL-1, IFN-, TNF-, IL-10, total IgG3, and chemokines. Resistant AIRmin mice controlled cell activation more efficiently than the AIRmax during arthritis progression. The weight alterations of the spleen and thymus in the course of PIA were observed. Our data suggest that selected AIRmax cellular and genetic immune mechanisms contribute to cartilage damage and arthritis severity, evidencing many targets for therapeutic actions.