Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) capable of quantitatively measuring pg/ml amounts of mouse IL-12 (moIL-12) were developed as an alternative to the current bioassay procedure used for the measurement of moIL-12. A panel of 40 rat anti-moIL-12 monoclonal antibodies were identified and tested for their ability to bind 125I-moIL-12. Two of the MAbs, 2B5 and 9A5, were able to capture 125I-moIL-12 in the presence of unlabelled moIL-12 p35 and moIL-12 p40, suggesting specificity for the moIL-12 p75 heterodimer. Western blot analysis confirmed that MAb 9A5 specifically recognized only moIL-12 p75. Using MAb 9A5, and an additional anti-moIL-12 p40 MAb 5D9, we developed quantitative ELISAs for the specific detection of moIL-12 p75 and p40, respectively. These ELISAs detect moIL-12 with a sensitivity of 40 pg/ml. Whereas the p40 ELISA detected three forms of moIL-12 (p40 monomer, p40 homodimer, and the heterodimer), the p75 ELISA only detected moIL-12 heterodimer. Neither of these assays crossreacted with a panel of additional cytokines. The levels of moIL-12 measured by the p75 ELISA and the bioassay were directly compared and found to correlate well. Therefore, the p75 ELISA represents an alternative to the bioassay for the measurement of moIL-12.