An HPLC method for quantifying the 3-hydroxypyridinium crosslinks of collagen is described. It can be applied to crude hydrolysates of all types of connective tissue. Mineralized tissues can be hydrolyzed directly and analyzed without interference from the mineral ions. The hydroxylysyl (HP) and lysyl (LP) forms of hydroxypyridinium residue were resolved on a reverse-phase C18 column using a gradient of acetonitrile in water and 0.01 M n-heptafluorobutyric acid as an ion-pairing agent. The crosslinking amino acids were accurately quantified down to 2 PM (1 ng) injected, by detecting their natural fluorescence with a spectrofluorometer. Tissues in which hydroxypyridinium crosslinks were plentiful included all forms of cartilage, bone, dentin, ligament, tendon, fascia, intervertebral disc, lung, gut, cervix, aorta, and vitreous humor. Among normal tissues, LP, the minor form of the crosslink, was present in significant amounts relative to HP only in bone and dentin. Both crosslinks were essentially absent from skin, cornea, rat tail tendon, and basement membranes.