Study of a series of stromal cell lines from mouse bone marrow (MBA) verified and extended their classification as phenotypically distinct subtypes. Production of extracellular matrix proteins was examined using specific antibodies. Fibronectin and laminin were detected in all of the cell lines tested, yet 14F1.1 adipocytes exhibited particularly prominent extracellular deposition. This cell line and MBA-13.2 cells were positive to both collagen types I and IV, whereas MBA-1 and MBA- 2.1 were stained with anticollagen type I antibodies only. Coculture experiments revealed differences among the lines in their effects on normal myeloid cells and leukemic cell lines. In promoting the in vitro accumulation of myeloid progenitors (CFU-C), 14F1.1 cells surpassed the others. The MBA-2.1 cell line was particularly inhibitory to MPC-11 plasmacytoma and Friend erythroleukemia cells. However, the latter were refractory to other stromal cell lines, whereas MPC-11 cells were inhibited to various degrees by virtually all of the cell lines. Physical separation between the interacting cells reduced the inhibition in some but not all cases, and no inhibitory activity was detected in conditioned media. The MBA-13 stromal cells synergistically promoted the differentiation of dimethylsulfoxide (Me2SO)-induced Friend erythroleukemia. The latter cells themselves, at high concentrations, as well as some of the stromal cell lines and unrelated adherent cells, antagonized the Me2SO effect, revealing possible reversible stages in the Friend cell differentiation pathway.