We developed an efficient enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) system for measurement of human liver-type arginase in serum. A conjugate of the Fab' fragment of anti-human liver (recombinant) arginase IgG and horseradish peroxidase was used as the second antibody. This assay is highly specific, sensitive, and reproducible, enabling us to detect arginase at concentrations as low as several micrograms per liter without any prior processing of serum. The reaction is linear up to 200 micrograms/L. The arginase concentration in serum, as determined by this method, increased markedly and temporarily at the time of surgical operation or later injury to the liver. The increase was accompanied or followed by increases in serum concentrations of aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, and lactate dehydrogenase, suggesting that the arginase emerged from damaged hepatocytes. In view of a limited tissue distribution of liver-type arginase, our ELISA system may be useful in diagnosis of various hepatic disorders as well as follow-up of postoperative conditions of patients.