Human prostaglandin G/H synthase 1 and 2 were expressed in the baculovirus expression system and purified to high levels. Both enzymes were glycosylated. PGHS-1 appeared to be homogeneous by SDS-PAGE analysis but two closely migrating bands were detected in PGHS-2 preparation which were evidently due to heterogeneity in glycosylation. The amino-acid sequence of the N-termini of both isoforms indicated that the signal sequences were efficiently cleaved by the insect cells. The recombinant human PGHS-1 and PGHS-2 possessed both cyclooxygenase and peroxidase activities. Both had high affinities for arachidonate as substrate and underwent self-inactivation during catalysis. The recombinant isoforms were not pharmacologically identical, since some NSAIDs were selective inhibitors of either PGHS-1 or PGHS-2. This is the first report of high levels of expression and purification of human PGHS isoforms. The recombinant enzymes are invaluable in developing potent PGHS-2 selective inhibitors that may be efficacious anti-inflammatory drugs with no or low levels of toxicity.