The administration of recombinant human interleukin-7 (rhIL-7) to mice twice a day for 7 days does not appreciably change bone marrow (BM) cellularity, but does result in a threefold to fivefold increase in the total number of leukocytes in the spleen, an eightfold to 10-fold increase in the total number of nonparenchymal cells (NPC) obtained from the liver, and up to a 20-fold increase in the total number of peripheral white blood cells (WBC). This regimen of rhIL-7 administration also causes a profound reduction in the total number of progenitors in the BM for both single-lineage colony-forming units- culture (CFU-c) (> 90%) and multilineage CFU-granulocyte, erythroid, monocyte, megakaryocyte (CFU-GEMM) (> 99%) colonies. In contrast, mice treated with rhIL-7 exhibited increases in both CFU-c (20- to 40-fold, 20-fold, and 15- to 40-fold) and CFU-GEMM (8- to 10-fold, 30-fold, and 6- to 10-fold) cultured from the peripheral blood, spleen, and NPC, respectively. The increase in CFU in the NPC was accompanied by a fivefold increase in the number of MAC-1+ cells and a ninefold increase in the number of 8C5bright+ cells. Splenectomy of mice before the administration of rhIL-7 further increased the total number of WBC, NPC, and myeloid progenitors as compared with the rhIL-7-treated nonsplenectomized mice. Finally, selective depletion of the BM by intraperitoneal administration of 89Sr (98% reduction in BM cellularity and > 99% reduction in BM myeloid progenitors) abrogated the rhIL-7- induced increases in cellularity and myeloid progenitor number in the peripheral blood, spleen, and NPC. These results show that the changes in myelopoiesis observed after in vivo administration of rhIL-7 to mice result largely from the emigration of myeloid progenitors from the BM through the blood to the spleen, liver, and, possibly, other peripheral organs.