Cytokine-mobilized peripheral blood cells have been shown to participate in hematopoietic recovery after bone marrow (BM) transplantation, and are proposed to be useful targets for retrovirus- mediated gene transfer protocols. We treated mice with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) and stem cell factor (SCF) to mobilize hematopoietic progenitor cells into the peripheral blood. These cells were analyzed for the number and frequency of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSC). We found that splenectomized animals treated for 5 days with G-CSF and SCF showed a threefold increase in the absolute number of PHSC over normal mice. The number of peripheral- blood PHSC increased 250-fold from 29 per untreated mouse to 7,200 in peripheral-blood PHSC in splenectomized animals treated for 5 days with G-CSF and SCF. Peripheral blood PHSC mobilized by treatment with G-CSF and SCF were analyzed for their ability to be transduced by retroviral vectors. Peripheral-blood PHSC from splenectomized animals G-CSF and SCF were transduced with a recombinant retrovirus containing the human MDR-1 gene. The frequency of gene transfer into peripheral blood PHSC from animals treated for 5 and 7 days was two-fold and threefold higher than gene transfer into PHSC from the BM of 5-fluorouracil-treated mice (P < .01). We conclude that peripheral blood stem cells mobilized by treatment with G-CSF and SCF are excellent targets for retrovirus- mediated gene transfer.