The distribution of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), a ligand for lymphocyte function antigen-1, on hematopoietic tissue was determined using the anti-ICAM-1 monoclonal antibody CL203.4 with flow cytometry and short-term semi-solid hematopoietic progenitor cultures. After timed incubation in media with fetal bovine serum, 29% of erythroid burst-forming units (BFU-E), 24% of erythroid colony-forming units (CFU-E), and 52% of granulocyte-macrophage colony-forming units (CFU-GM) bone marrow progenitors expressed ICAM-1. This finding, which is consistent with the detection of ICAM-1 on acute non-lymphoblastic leukemic blasts, is at variance with recent reports. ICAM-1 was also detected on bone marrow blasts, proerythroblasts, promyelocytes, and cells of monocyte/macrophage lineage, but was not detected on erythroblasts, normoblasts, neutrophilic myelocytes, metamyelocytes, bands, or on most lymphocytes. These results indicate that maturation of cells of the erythroid and myeloid lineage is associated with loss of ICAM-1. The distribution of ICAM-1 on bone marrow progenitors, early precursor cells, and accessory cells in conjunction with the function of this molecule in cell-cell interactions suggests that ICAM-1 may play a role in the cell-cell and cell-stromal interactions that regulate hematopoiesis.