1. A patient with congenital deficiency of xanthine oxidase (EC 188.8.131.52) (xanthinuria) excreted the xanthine isomer 4,6-dihydroxypyrazolo[3,4-d]pyrimidine (oxipurinol) in his urine when the hypoxanthine isomer 4-hydroxypyrazolo[3,4-d]pyrimidine (allopurinol) was given by mouth. 2. The identity of the oxipurinol that the patient excreted was established by mass spectrometry. 3. The mass spectra and infrared spectra of allopurinol, oxipurinol, hypoxanthine and xanthine are compared. 4. A mechanism for the fragmentation of these compounds that occurs during their mass-spectrometric investigation is proposed. 5. A possible metabolic pathway for the oxidation of allopurinol to oxipurinol in the absence of xanthine oxidase is discussed.