Interleukin-7 (IL-7) has been shown to be a critical factor in murine lymphoid development. It stimulates pre-B cells to divide in the absence of stroma cells and it is an important growth regulator of immature and mature T cells. IL-7 has been shown to synergize with stem cell factor (SCF) to provide a potent growth stimulus for pre-B cells. However, the combined effects of IL-7 and SCF on murine primitive hematopoietic cells in vitro have not been established. In the present study, the effects of recombinant rat (rr) SCF and recombinant human (rh) IL-7 on primitive murine bone marrow progenitors (Lin-Sca1+) were investigated in single-cell cloning experiments. rhIL-7 alone had no proliferative effect on Lin-Sca1+ cells, but in a dose-dependent manner directly enhanced rrSCF-induced colony formation, with an average increase in colony numbers of 2.7-fold. Interestingly, the cells formed in response to SCF and IL-7 were predominantly mature granulocytes. Thus, SCF and IL-7 synergize to stimulate early myelopoiesis in vitro.