The solution conformation of three related DNA hairpins, each with five bases in the loop, is investigated by proton and phosphorus 2D NMR methods. The sequences of the three oligomers are d(CGCGTTGTTCGCG), d(CGCGTTTGTCGCG), and d(CTGCTCTTGTTGAGCAG). One pair of hairpins shares the same stem sequence but differs in the loop, and the appearance of an unusual phosphate torsion in the stem is found to depend on the sequence in the loop of the hairpin. The second pair of hairpins shares the same loop region but differs in the stem sequence in that the base pair which closes the loop is a C-G or G-C pair. The pattern of NOEs reveals that the stacking arrangement in the loop region depends on the base pair that closes the stem. These results suggest that hairpin loop conformation and dynamics are sensitive to small changes in the loop and adjacent stem sequences. These findings are discussed in relation to sequence-dependent thermodynamic changes that have been observed in RNA hairpins.