Human pancreatic colipase is secreted as the inactive form procolipase. Activation involves tryptic cleavage of an N-terminal pentapeptide Ala-Pro-Gly-Pro-Arg (APGPR) which is known as procolipase activation peptide (CLAP). N-terminally haptenised synthetic APGPR was used to generate specific C-terminally directed anti-APGPR antibodies. The antiserum was used to develop a competitive enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) specific for free CLAP with a detection limit of 12 nmol/l and an intra-assay coefficient of variation (CV) of 3.28% and an inter-assay CV of 5.82%. The release of immunoreactive CLAP from human pancreatic juice and chicken pancreas upon trypsinisation was demonstrated, as well as the absence of reactivity of the antisera with procolipase from which the CLAP is released. APGPR was found to be unstable in biological fluids. Immunoreactivity is rapidly lost with half life of 5 min and 4 h in human serum and urine respectively. This loss of reactivity can be significantly slowed by the addition of 20 mmol/l Zinc ions (Zn2+), while ethylenediaminetetra-acetic acid (EDTA) and other protease inhibitors were ineffective. In serum the moiety responsible for loss of immunoreactivity was found to have an estimated molecular mass of 200,000-300,000 Da. CLAP assay specifically reports procolipase activation and may help elucidate the mechanism of satiety as well as contribute to the recognition and understanding of the role of procolipase activation in diseases states such as pancreatitis.