Host toxicity of the dose regimen of tubercidin (7-deazaadenosine) plus nitrobenzylthioinosine 5'-monophosphate (NBMPR-P) used in combination therapy of schistosomiasis (M.H. el Kouni, D. Diop, and S. Cha, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 80:6667-6670, 1983; M.H. el Kouni, N.J. Messier, and S. Cha, Biochem. Pharmacol. 36:3815-3821, 1987) was examined in vivo in mice and in vitro with human bone marrow progenitor cells. Four successive daily intraperitoneal injections of tubercidin at 5 mg/kg per day produced 100% mortality in mice within 3 to 5 days following the first injection, with massive peritonitis and intestinal obstruction secondary to abdominal adhesions. Coadministration of NBMPR-P (25 mg/kg per day) protected the mice from the lethality of tubercidin and allowed the repetition of the regimen for a second time with 100% survival until the mice were sacrificed 22 days following the first injection. Blood chemistry, hematological studies, and histological examinations showed no evidence for injury to the liver, kidney, spleen, pancreas, mesentery, or peritoneal mesothelium. In vitro, tubercidin alone had a direct dose-dependent inhibitory effect on myeloid and erythroid human bone marrow progenitor cells, and consistent inhibition (50%) of granulocyte-macrophage CFU (CFU-GM) and erythroid burst-forming units (BFU-E) occurred at 2 to 3 nM tubercidin. At higher doses, BFU-E were more sensitive to tubercidin toxicity than CFU-GM. Complete inhibition (99%) of BFU-E colonies occurred at 10 nM tubercidin, while complete inhibition of CFU-GM occurred at 100 nM. NBMPR-P at 10 to 100 nM protected CFU-GM and BFU-E from tubercidin toxicity in a dose-dependent matter.