The aim of this study was to test whether prolonged administration of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) would allow the collection by leukapheresis of PBHP in patients with SAA. For this purpose, nine SAA patients, 7 to 46 years old, six of whom were enrolled at diagnosis of their disease and three after previous immunosuppression had failed, were treated with antilymphocyte globulin (ALG) (day 1 to 5), cyclosporin A (5 mg/kg/d orally) (day 6 to 90) and G-CSF 5 micrograms/kg/d (day 6 to 90). A total of 40 leukaphereses were performed, (range 2 to 7 per patient), between days +10 and +168 from G- CSF treatment. White blood cell count at the time of harvest ranged from 1.2 to 18.1 x 10(9)/L. Results can be summarized as follows: the median number of cells collected per patient was 5.0 x 10(8)/kg (range 2.6 to 18.7), the median number of CD34+ cells was 1.8 x 10(6)/kg (range 0.27 to 3.8) and the median number of colony-forming units granulocyte-macrophage (CFU-GM) was 3.9 x 10(4)/kg (range 0 to 39). Twenty leukaphereses performed between days +33 and +77 of G-CSF treatment grew granulocyte macrophages and erythroid colonies in vitro. No colony growth was obtained from 20 leukaphereses performed before day +33 or after day +80. In six patients the total number of CFU-GM recovered were in the range described for autologous peripheral blood stem cell grafts. (2.6 to 39 x 10(4)/kg). In conclusion, this study suggests that circulating hematopoietic progenitors can be recovered after ALG priming and after at least 1 month of G-CSF treatment in a proportion of patients with SAA. Whether these cells will be suitable for autologous transplantation remains to be determined.