The modulatory effect of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3(vit D) on the growth of myeloid progenitors and on the composition of the stromal layer in human bone marrow long-term cultures was studied. Vit D (2 × 10-8M) caused an enhancement in myeloid progenitor cell (CFU-C) growth in the nonadherent and adherent layers during the entire 5-week incubation period. The vitamin did not alter the differentiation pattern of CFU-C (monocyte-macrophage progenitors CFU-M, granulocytic progenitors CFU-G, or monocyte-granulocyte progenitors CFU-GM). Vit D caused a marked increase in the percentage of lipid-containing cells in the adherent layer and an increase in the number of cells that specifically bound My4 monoclonal antibody (McAb), that reacted positively to fluoride-sensitive α-naphthyl acetate esterase, and that phagocytosed Candida albicans (CA). Concentrated supernatants harvested from control cultures showed significant levels of myeloid colony stimulating factor (CSF) activity. The addition of vit D to cultures for 5 weeks did not alter CSF levels. These results suggest that vit D may play a role in hematopoiesis by acting directly on the progenitor cells or via the stromal cell production of stimulatory factors).