Human granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) is a regulatory glycoprotein that stimulates the production of neutrophilic granulocytes from committed hematopoietic progenitor cells both in vitro and in vivo. In this report, we show that biosynthetic (recombinant) human G-CSF enhances colony formation by normal human bone marrow and the human myeloid leukemic cell lines, HL-60 and KG-1, as well as nonhematopoietic small cell lung cancer lines, H128 and H69. G-CSF also modulates multiple differentiated functions of human neutrophils, including enhanced oxidative metabolism in response to f- Met-Leu-Phe (f-MLP), increased antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC), and augmented arachidonic acid release in response to ionophore and chemotactic agents. These effects are all maximal at a concentration of 100 to 500 pmol/L. Using 125I-labeled recombinant human G-CSF, high affinity binding sites were identified on human neutrophils, the myeloid leukemia cell lines KG-1 and HL-60, and the small cell carcinoma cell lines, H128 and H69. G-CSF receptor numbers ranged between 138 and 285 sites per cell with a kd of 77 to 140 pmol/L, consistent with the concentrations of G-CSF that elicit biologic responses in vitro. Decreased specific binding of 125l-G-CSF by human neutrophils was consistently observed in the presence of excess unlabeled human granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), suggesting competition or down modulation by GM-CSF of the G- CSF receptor.