Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta), a potent modulator of cell growth, differentiation, and the expression of extracellular matrix components in a variety of cell types, exists as two distinct homodimers (TGF-beta 1 and TGF-beta 2), sharing 71% sequence homology. Radioreceptor and previously described radioimmunological assays using rabbit antibodies have not been able to distinguish between these two forms. We have developed antisera in turkeys against native TGF-beta 1 and TGF-beta 2, each of which specifically blocks both the receptor binding and biological activity of each of these peptides. With these immunological reagents we describe sensitive and specific immunological assays for TGF-beta 1 and TGF-beta 2 in complex biological fluids. Using these assays we show that both TGF-beta 1 and TGF-beta 2 are secreted by a variety of cultured cells, but that some cells secrete predominantly either TGF-beta 1 or TGF-beta 2 while others secrete both peptides in nearly equal amounts. Our results demonstrate that the expression of each of the two forms of TGF-beta is independently regulated.