Adult AKR/J mice were treated with 10 micrograms/g or 100 micrograms/g 2'-deoxycoformycin, an adenosine deaminase inhibitor with chemotherapeutic potential. The thymus and adrenal glands were decreased in weight more than any other organ. Histologic and cytofluorographic analyses indicated preferential depletion of peanut-agglutinin-positive, cortical thymocytes, as well as acute, dose-dependent damage to the adrenal cortex and medulla. The effect of 2'-deoxycoformycin on the thymus was proven to be independent of the adrenal glands by use of adrenalectomized mice. Dose-dependent liver necrosis, hemolysis, and leukemoid reactivity were observed. These findings illustrate a differential sensitivity of thymocyte subpopulations and suggest, in addition, preferential sensitivity of certain nonlymphoid tissues to 2'-deoxycoformycin administered in vivo.