The creatinine levels of blood and urine from humans, rats, and mice were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography. These were compared to the alkaline picrate analysis of creatinine performed by standard colorimetric, kinetic, and AutoAnalyzer techniques. For human serum and urine the values obtained using the HPLC technique gave good agreement with four out of five alkaline picrate techniques. For black or white mice, the serum creatinine concentration was 8.7 +/- 0.4 microM by HPLC but 44.9 +/- 1.9 microM by the lowest alkaline picrate method. Mouse urine creatinine concentrations were 3.24 +/- 0.19 mM by HPLC and 4.59 +/- 0.39 mM by the nearest alkaline picrate method. Rat serum creatinine concentrations analyzed by HPLC were about half the values obtained by AutoAnalyzer. Mouse and rat samples seemed to have substances which gave nonspecific color and thus interfered with the analysis of creatinine by the alkaline picrate methods. While the alkaline picrate analysis of creatinine was adequate for human samples, it was necessary to use HPLC to accurately measure rodent creatinine. The fractional excretion of creatinine was determined by measuring creatinine in mouse urine and plasma by both the kinetic and HPLC methods and comparing these values to urine and plasma inulin. Using the kinetic method, creatinine was cleared at 43 +/- 3% of the rate of inulin. Using the HPLC method, creatinine was cleared at 170 +/- 11% of the rate of inulin.