Substance P (SP) is a neuropeptide that is released from sensory nerves and several types of immune cells. It is involved in the transmission of pain and has a number of pro-inflammatory effects. Like other neuropeptides, SP is derived from a large precursor peptide, protachykinin A (PTA). Alternative splicing results in the production of four distinct PTA molecules that all contain the sequence of SP and a common N-terminal region consisting of 37 amino acids. We have developed a sandwich immunoassay using antibodies against the N-terminal part of PTA. Here we demonstrate that N-terminal PTA immunoreactivity is present in human circulation and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The concentration was about 90 times higher in CSF than in EDTA-plasma. Analytical reversed phase HPLC revealed that NT-PTA 1-37 is the main immunoreactivity in human circulation and CSF. Moreover, compared to the low in vitro stability of SP of less than 12 min, NT-PTA immunoreactivity is absolutely stable in EDTA-plasma and CSF for more than 48 h. As NT-PTA 1-37 is produced in stoichiometric amounts and is theoretically co-released with SP, we suggest the measurement of NT-PTA immunoreactivity as surrogate molecule for the release of bioactive SP.