Diadenosine tetraphosphate (AP4A) is an unusual nucleotide found in a variety of cells, including platelets. It has been suggested that platelet AP4A is stored in the dense granules and is metabolically inactive. We have studied the AP4A content of blood platelets in two patients and three cattle with Chediak-Higashi syndrome (CHS), a hereditary platelet defect with dense granule deficiency. Acid-soluble extractions of whole blood and platelets were neutralized. The adenosine triphosphate (ATP) level was measured by luminescence technique. To measure the AP4A content, the neutralized extract was treated with phosphomonoesterase for removal of ATP. The AP4A content was then measured by coupling the phosphodiesterase and luciferase reaction. The AP4A content was 0.43 nmol/mg protein for normal human platelets and 0.004 nmol/mg protein for CHS platelets. The ATP/AP4A ratio was 67 for normal and 3,023 for CHS platelets. The whole blood AP4A was reduced by 89% in CHS patients who had only a slight decrease in ATP level (26% reduction). Similarly, bovine platelets with CHS showed a marked decrease of AP4A content and a moderate reduction of the ATP level. The platelet ATP/AP4A ratio was 351 and 3,133 for normal and CHS cattle, respectively. Results demonstrate a marked reduction of AP4A in CHS platelets and suggest that AP4A may be a useful marker for the measurement of dense granule content in platelets.