Extracellular nucleotides such as ATP and NAD can profoundly affect the functions of lymphocytes, macrophages, and other cells. We have recently shown that extracellular NAD induces rapid apoptosis in naive T cells by a mechanism involving the ADP-ribosylation of cell surface molecules. In the present paper, we describe that T cells of different developmental stages differ in their sensitivity to NAD-induced apoptosis. Thymocytes were less susceptible than peripheral lymph node T cells, and freshly activated cells were more resistant than resting cells. Sensitivity to NAD-induced apoptosis generally correlated with expression of the ADP-ribosyltransferase ART2.2, which is not expressed on thymocytes and shed from peripheral T cells upon activation. Our findings suggest that NAD-induced apoptosis does not play a role during thymic selection of T cells, but rather may play a role by preventing the activation of unwanted bystander T cells during an immune response, and thus may participate in the control of autoimmunity.