Several B lymphoblastic cell lines are known to be relatively resistant to the combination of 2'-deoxyadenosine with an adenosine deaminase inhibitor. These cell lines are believed to have a greater capacity to dephosphorylate 2'-deoxyadenosine nucleotides, thus preventing excessive accumulation of potentially toxic metabolites. In this study, the 2'-deoxynucleoside 5'-monophosphate dephosphorylating activities of human peripheral lymphocytes were examined. Peripheral lymphocytes have at least three nucleotide 5'-monophosphate nucleotidases distinguished by different pH optimums, substrate preference, Mg2+ requirement, inhibitors, and molecular weights. Two of the enzymes appeared to be cytosolic, only one of which had significant substrate activity with dAMP. This enzyme had an acidic pH optimum (5.0), no Mg2+ requirement, was inhibited by tartrate, and demonstrated broad substrate specificity. The other cytosolic nucleotidase required Mg2+, had a pH optimum of 5.5 to 6.0, was activated by 2'-deoxyinosine, and demonstrated a substrate preference for 3'- and 5'-monophosphate 2'-deoxynucleosides of hypoxanthine, guanine, uracil, and thymine. The third enzyme, ecto 5'-nucleotidase, is associated with the cell membrane. Although the ecto 5'-nucleotidase activity was higher in the B lymphocytes, the cytosolic nucleotidases were similar in activity in the T and B lymphocytes. © 1985.