As recently reported, it is possible to detect and quantify the amount of the deleted human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in whole blood, platelets and peripheral blood mononuclear cells using real-time PCR. The aim of this study was to identify the cell types in human blood carrying the 4977 bp deleted mtDNA and their accumulation with regard to donor age. Whole blood from 10 healthy donors (five individuals aged from 19 to 22 years, five aged from 57 to 61 years) was separated in various cell populations such as granulocytes, B cells/monocytes and T cells. Purity of the cell isolates was determined by flow cytometry. Total DNA was extracted and 250 ng DNA of each cell type was subjected to PCR using fluorescent-labelled primer pairs. The specific PCR product of the 4977 bp deletion was quantified using an automated detection system. The accumulation of the 4977 bp deletion was more pronounced in T lymphocytes and granulocytes in comparison to B lymphocytes/monocytes. The amount of the 4977 bp deletion in whole blood varied from 0 to 0.00018%, in T lymphocytes from 0.00009 to 0.00160%, in granulocytes from 0 to 0.00162% and in the B lymphocyte/monocyte fraction from 0 to 0.00025%. The higher amount of the deletion in T lymphocytes may be due to a subset of lymphocytes with a longer lifespan thus facilitating the accumulation of mitochondrial damage. The higher amount in granulocytes could have the explanation in the higher release of free radicals for prevention of infectious diseases, because free radicals are supposed to damage the macromolecules of this cell type. The 10 donors displayed differences in the pattern of the accumulation with regard to the different cell types, but no age-dependent accumulation was observed. Differences of the accumulation pattern may be due to actual individual living behaviour or environmental factors.