The use of the bone marrow culture technique was studied as a means to prepare donor marrow for bone marrow transplantation to avoid lethal graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Preliminary experiments demonstrated the rapid loss of theta-positive cells in such cultures, so that theta- positive cells were not detected after 6 days. Initial experiments in C3H/HeJ (H-2k, Hbbd) recipients prepared with 900 rad demonstrated improved survival when 3-day cultured C57BL/6 (H-2b, Hbbs) donor cells were used in place of hind limb marrow for transplantation. However, hemoglobin typing of recipient animals revealed only short-term donor engraftment, with competitive repopulation of recipient marrow occurring. Subsequent experiments were done in 1,200-rad prepared recipients, with long-term donor engraftment demonstrated. The majority of 1,200-rad prepared animals receiving cultured allogeneic cells died of GVHD, but animals receiving 28-day cultured cells had an improved 90- day survival and a delay in GVHD development over animals receiving hind limb marrow or marrow from shorter times in culture. In addition, animals receiving anti-theta-treated, 3-day nonadherent cells had an improved survival (44%) over animals receiving anti-theta-treated hind limb marrow (20%). These experiments demonstrate modest benefit for the use of cultured cells in bone marrow transplantation across major H-2 histocompatibility complex differences.