Mice ingesting 30 to 50% D2O (heavy water, deuterium oxide) developed a dose-dependent depression of formed peripheral blood elements in 4 to 9 days. The principal mechanism of anemia and thrombocytopenia is impaired hematopoiesis. Despite pancytopenia in the peripheral blood, bone marrow cellularity and morphology remained normal. Upon replacement of D2O with tap water, platelet and neutrophil concentrations returned to normal within 48 to 72 hr. In contrast, blood lymphocyte concentrations remained low for several weeks. B-lymphocytes may be more affected by deuteration than other lymphocyte subsets. In vivo reticuloendothelial cell function, as assessed by 51Cr-labeled sheep erythrocyte clearance, was unaffected by D2O. Although a dose-dependent decrease in fluid intake occurred during deuteration, hematocytopenia was not a consequence of dehydration. In view of the known kinetics of D2O in biological systems, the rapid response of myeloid elements to deuteration must be due primarily to the solvent (nonmetabolic) isotope effect. Prolonged deuteration has proven toxic when included in regimens for treatment of neoplasia, including leukemia, in animal models. The present study shows that modulation of hematopoiesis by D2O is possible without invoking the toxicities associated with prolonged deuteration.