Stimulators of human erythroid burst-forming units (BFU-E) and multipotential colony-forming cells (CFU-GEMM) can be produced by a number of different cell types. A product of human peripheral blood monocytes, interleukin 1 (IL-1), was evaluated for its ability to stimulate fibroblast cultures to produce stimulators of human bone marrow BFU-E and CFU-GEMM colony formation. BFU-E and CFU-GEMM colony formation was evaluated using low-density, nonadherent low-density, and T lymphocyte-depleted nonadherent low-density human bone marrow cells cultured in the presence of a source of pure human erythropoietin. Both human monocyte conditioned medium (MCM) and human recombinant IL-1 (hrIL-1) induced fibroblasts to produce stimulators of BFU-E and CFU- GEMM in a dose-dependent fashion with maximal colony formation occurring when fibroblasts were stimulated by 25% MCM or 140 ng/mL ROO6B hrIL-1, or 1.25 to 5 ng/mL ROO6T hrIL-1. Preincubation of MCM and hrIL-1 with an antibody to IL-1 inactivated the ability of MCM and hrIL- 1 to induce the release of erythroid and multipotential colony stimulating activity from fibroblasts. These results suggest that monocyte-derived IL-1 is involved in regulating the production of humoral stimulators of early human hematopoietic progenitors.