Immunochromatography has shown that human NOV (NOVH), a member of the CCN (CTGF/CYR61/NOV) family, forms a physiological complex with fibulin-1 in blood. We developed an enzyme immunoassay specific for NOVH and showed for the first time that the concentration of NOVH differs in each of these biological fluids. The normal concentration of NOVH circulating in the blood is 350-400 ng/ml, but this concentration varies with age. By using sera from patients with adrenal gland diseases we found that in vivo ACTH or glucocorticoids are not responsible for the high concentration of NOVH in this endocrine gland. However, the NOVH concentration was significantly modified in malignant adrenocortical tumors, but not in benign adrenocortical tumors. The concentration of NOVH was significantly decreased in patients suffering from astrocytomas or multiple sclerosis, two diseases of the nervous system. Thus, NOVH is a potentially useful marker for the diagnosis of these diseases.