The use of quinolone antibiotics would be significant for chronically diseased children (e.g., cystic fibrosis) as a prophylactic long-term treatment. However, quinolones were shown to cause cartilage damage in experimental animals when administered during certain developmental stages. In the present study, the effect of quinolones on chondrocytes was studied in a cell culture model in order to avoid animal experiments, to investigate the influence of single factors, and to open up the possibility to test human tissue. Chondrocytes were obtained from hip joint cartilage of 3 to 4-weeks-old rats and cultured in control medium or quinolone-supplemented medium. It was shown that quinolones heavily disturbed adhesion of chondrocytes to the culture dish, accompanied by changes in cell shape and cytoskeletal morphology. Reduction of filamentous actin (stress fibers) and disintegration of vimentin fibers was demonstrated by immunofluorescence and evaluated by confocal laser scanning microscopy. In contrast, distribution and amount of the adhesion molecule integrin alpha 1 did not change. Results of the present study indicate that quinolones disturb the adherence mechanism of chondrocytes and lead to cytoskeleton changes.