Oncostatin M (OM) is structurally and functionally related to a subclass of hematopoietic cytokines including leukemia-inhibitory factor (LIF), ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF), granulocyte colony- stimulating factor (G-CSF), and interleukin-6 (IL-6). Using human endothelial cells (HEC) as a model for cytokine regulation of hematopoietic growth factor expression, we tested OM as an inducer of colony-stimulating activity. Colony-forming cell assays supplemented with culture supernatants from OM-treated HEC contained a threefold increase in colony-forming unit granulocyte-macrophage colonies. Specific immunoassay (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) of culture supernatants indicated that OM treatment of HEC resulted in a dose- and time-dependent increase in the accumulation of G-CSF and granulocyte- macrophage CSF (GM-CSF) (> 28-fold). The ED50 for OM induction of G-CSF and GM-CSF protein expression was 17 and 7 pmol/L, respectively. Increased protein expression was associated with a similar increase in steady-state expression of G-CSF and GM-CSF mRNA. Furthermore, a period of 12 to 24 hours elapsed before there were measurable increases in CSF expression, suggesting that OM may stimulate CSF production through a mechanism requiring the synthesis or activation of a secondary mediating factor or pathway. These findings provide the first evidence that OM may regulate myelopoiesis by inducing the cellular expression of hematopoietic growth factors.