We developed a simple, rapid, and automated method for simultaneous measurement of adenosine deaminase (ADA, EC 184.108.40.206) isoenzymes in human serum, based on their apparent difference in Ki values for erythro-9-(2-hydroxy-3-nonyl)adenine (EHNA) as inhibitor. Serum ADA was partially purified by CM-Sephadex, gel-filtration, and affinity chromatography into two types of isoenzymes, designated ADA1 (300 kDa) and ADA2 (120 kDa). Because ADA2 has a higher Km for adenosine and higher Ki values for EHNA than does ADA1, the activity of ADA1 is almost completely inhibited by EHNA at 0.1 mM (analytical recovery 4.1%), whereas ADA2 is practically unaffected (analytical recovery 94.8%) by that concentration of EHNA. We measured the activities of ADA2 and total ADA in the presence and absence of 0.1 mM EHNA. ADA1 activities were calculated by subtracting the activity of ADA2 from that of total ADA. The mean within-assay CV was 5.7% for ADA1 and 2.7% for ADA2. The interassay CV was 2.8% for ADA1 and 3.1% for ADA2. Results of the present method correlated well (r = 0.9026 for ADA1, 0.9438 for ADA2) with those of the ion-exchange chromatography method. The upper limits of the reference intervals, as calculated from data for 320 healthy donors, are 7.2 U/liter for ADA1, and 14.6 U/liter for ADA2. This method is suitable for analysis of large numbers of samples in clinical laboratories for routine monitoring of the activities of ADA isoenzymes in serum.