Abstract— We have compared the singlet oxygen-mediated inactivation of acetylcholinesterase (ACE) in solution with the inactivation of ACE on the surface of K562 leukemia cells. In solution, the actions of the singlet-oxygen quenchers, methionine, azide, disodium [N,N'-ethylene-bis(5-sulfosalicylideneinuninato)]nickelate(II) (Ni-chelate 1) and disodium [(N,N'-2,3-propionic acid)bis(5-sulfosal-icylideneimminato)]nickelate(II) (Ni-chelate 2) could be explained quantitatively by assuming their only mechanism of action was to quench singlet oxygen. The singlet oxygen quenchers, azide, Ni-chelate 1 and Ni-chelate 2, caused smaller inhibitions in the rate of singlet oxygenmediated inactivation of ACE on K562 cells than ACE in solution. The effects of these quenchers and of deuterium oxide were interpreted using a mathematical model of singlet-oxygen quenching and diffusion to estimate the lifetime of singlet oxygen near the cell surface. The azide quenching data and the deuterium-oxide data gave lifetimes of 0.9 ± 0.2 μs and 0.45 ± 0.15 μs, respectively. The increases in ACE inactivation lifetime caused by the nickel chelates were anomalously large. The unexpectedly large quenching due to the nickel chelates may have been due to a nonuniform distribution of the chelates in the cytoplasm with a large concentration of the chelate near the cell membrane.