Background: Motilin is a peptide-structured gastrointestinal system hormone. In this study, a sensitive HPLC-fluorescence detection method was developed and validated for the quantification of motilin in human plasma. Materials & methods: Optimization processes were carried out with the experimental design methodology. Analyses were performed on a C8 column (4.6 x 150 mm, 3.5 mu m particles) using water and acetonitrile containing trifluoroacetic acid as the mobile phase. Results & conclusion: The method was linear from 2 to 200 ng/ml of motilin. The assay variability was less than 5%. The limit of quantification was found to be 1.84 ng/ml. The applicability of the developed method was successfully demonstrated by quantifying the levels of motilin in human plasma samples.