The determination of peptide stability in human serum (HS) or plasma constitutes a powerful screening assay for eliminating unstable peptides from further development. Herein we report on the stability in HS of several major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-binding peptides. Some of these peptides are in development for the novel treatment of selected autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and insulin-dependent diabetes. For most of the l-amino acid peptides studied, the predominant degradation mechanism is exopeptidase-catalyzed cleavage. Peptides that were protected by d-amino acids at both termini were found to be more stable than predicted, based on additivity of single substitutions. In addition, N-acetylglucosamine glycopeptides were significantly stabilized, even when the glycosylation site was several amino acids from the predominant site(s) of cleavage. This indicates that long-range stabilization is possible, and likely due to altered peptide conformation. Finally, the effect of single amino acid substitutions on peptide stability in HS was determined using a model set of poly-Ala peptides which were protected from exopeptidase cleavage, allowing the study of endopeptidase cleavage pathways.