Statistical profiles of the first- and second-order spatial derivatives of velocity and pressure are reported for turbulent channel flow at Re t = 590. The statistics were extracted from a high-resolution direct numerical simulation. To quantify the anisotropic behavior of fine-scale structures, the variances of the derivatives are compared with the theoretical values for isotropic turbulence. It is shown that appropriate combinations of first- and second-order velocity derivatives lead to (directional) viscous length scales without explicit occurrence of the viscosity in the definitions. To quantify the non-Gaussian and intermittent behavior of fine-scale structures, higher-order moments and probability density functions of spatial derivatives are reported. Absolute skewnesses and flatnesses of several spatial derivatives display high peaks in the near wall region. In the logarithmic and central regions of the channel flow, all first-order derivatives appear to be significantly more intermittent than in isotropic turbulence at the same Taylor Reynolds number. Since the nine variances of first-order velocity derivatives are the distinct elements of the turbulence dissipation, the budgets of these nine variances are shown, together with the budget of the turbulence dissipation. The comparison of the budgets in the near-wall region indicates that the normal derivative of the fluctuating streamwise velocity (¿u '/¿y) plays a more important role than other components of the fluctuating velocity gradient. The small-scale generation term formed by triple correlations of fluctuations of first-order velocity derivatives is analyzed. A typical mechanism of small-scale generation near the wall (around y + = 1), the intensification of positive ¿u '/¿y by local strain fluctuation (compression in normal and stretching in spanwise direction), is illustrated and discussed.