Human parathyroid hormone (1-84) is a naturally occurring polypeptide that acts as the major regulator of calcium ion homeostasis. It can be efficiently produced through both synthetic and biosynthetic routes and, as such, highly selective analytical methods are required for the detection of a wide range of impurities. Herein we report on the development of an ion-pairing reversed-phase HPLC method for the analysis of human parathyroid hormone and the separation of impurities including a major, unidentified impurity detected in synthetic preparations. This impurity could not be resolved using trifluoroacetic acid-based methods generally used for monitoring purity levels in commercial products. Separation conditions consisted of a gradient elution of 0.155 M sodium chloride containing 0.037 M sodium pentanesulfonate, pH 5.6, as mobile phase A and acetonitrile as mobile phase B. Separations were carried out on an octadecylsilyl silica column maintained at 50 degrees C. Both column temperature and pH of mobile phase A significantly affected the separation of the major impurity. The major impurity eluted after the main human parathyroid peak and was detected in the two commercial synthetic products analyzed. Several minor impurities eluting before and after the main peak were also detected. Purity levels measured by the developed HPLC method (method C) were similar to those previously measured by capillary electrophoresis. Analysis of purified recombinant human parathyroid hormone did not show the presence of this impurity. This method offers a significant advantage for the purity assessment of human parathyroid hormone.