The growth of human eosinophil progenitors (CFU-Eo) and the modulation of growth by hydrocortisone were studied as functions of the presence of lymphocytes and monocytes in marrow cells under study; and the source of colony-stimulating factors, specifically, media conditioned by macrophage-like cell line, GCT; phytohemagglutinin-stimulated mononuclear cells (PHA-LCM); or the T cell line, MO. CFU-Eo growth was greatest in marrow containing accessory cells as compared to marrow depleted of accessory cells; and in marrow treated with phytohemagglutinin-stimulated leukocyte conditioned media (PHA-LCM) or MO (T cell line)-conditioned medium (MO-CM) as compared with GCT cell- conditioned medium (GCT-CM). Hydrocortisone reproducibly inhibited eosinophil progenitor growth in unfractionated marrow stimulated by GCT- CM. This effect was abrogated by admixing irradiated mononuclear cells or T lymphocytes with the target marrow or by adding interleukin 1 or interleukin 2 (IL-1, IL-2). Inhibition by hydrocortisone did not occur when monocyte and T lymphocyte depleted marrow was studied. Unlike GCT- CM, MO-CM and PHA-LCM stimulated equal proportions of eosinophil progenitors in nondepleted and accessory cell-depleted marrow and demonstrated less hydrocortisone inhibition. However, both GCT-CM and PHA-LCM produced in the presence of hydrocortisone stimulated significantly fewer CFU-Eos in both unfractionated and accessory cell- depleted marrow target populations. These results indicate that the growth of CFU-Eo and inhibition of growth by hydrocortisone is a direct function of a monocyte-T cell interaction and probably is mediated through effects on the production/release of eosinophil colony stimulating factor (Eo-CSF).