In order to meet the need of many microbiological laboratories for a standardized system for detecting Chlamydia pneumoniae in respiratory specimens, a hybridization probe-based LightCycler (Roche Diagnostics, Germany) PCR assay was developed. The assay's analytical sensitivity and specificity were evaluated according to the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USA) and Laboratory Centre for Disease Control (Canada). Seventy-four bacterial species other than Chlamydia pneumoniae, including strains of Chlamydia trachomatis, Chlamydia psittaci, and Chlamydia pecorum, tested negative. Six of six representative Chlamydia pneumoniae strains tested positive. An analytical sensitivity of 1 inclusion forming unit per ml of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, corresponding to 0.02 inclusion forming units per PCR reaction, was observed. The assay showed 100% specificity and sensitivity for Chlamydia pneumoniae when testing DNA preparations from 12 specimens of patients with known pulmonary Chlamydia pneumoniae infection and from 78 specimens of patients with respiratory tract disease of other origin. The newly developed LightCycler assay may contribute to the urgently needed standardization of laboratory diagnosis of Chlamydia pneumoniae.