Using a reliable 2-step colorimetric assay, some catalytic properties of human erythrocyte ITPase (inosine triphosphate pyrophosphohydrolase) (EC 22.214.171.124) were determined. The enzyme hydrolyses ITP, dITP (deoxyinosine triphosphate) and XTP (xanthine triphosphate) but not other nucleotides. IDP is a competitive inhibitor. Subcellular fractionation of cultured lymphoid-line cells showed ITPase activity to be in the cytosol. ATP and GTP hydrolysing activities were not enriched in the cytosol fraction. The range of activity was investigated in erythrocytes, peripheral leukocytes, amniotic fluid cells, skin fibroblasts, long term lymphoid lines and bone marrow fibroblasts. The mean ITPase activity was found to vary in different cell types from 4.9 to 294 units per mg protein. Fractionation of red blood cells by age revealed that the enzyme decays exponentially with erythrocyte age with a half-life of 35 days. The enzyme had a wide range of specific activity in erythrocytes from 150 normal randomly selected individuals (15-722 pmol/h/g Hb). Within the low range of erythrocyte specific activities (from 15 to 200) a correlation was found between an individual's erythrocyte activity and the activity in peripheral leukocytes. This correlation was not found at higher erythrocyte ITPase activities. Two individuals were detected who had erythrocyte ITPase activities which were close to the lower limits of sensitivity of the assay. Leukocytes from these individuals had the lowest ITPase activities of all samples tested. Thus, low or absent ITPase activity is an individual characteristic which may be expressed both in erythrocytes and in other cell types.