Macrophage inflammatory protein-1alpha (MIP-1alpha) can stimulate growth inhibitory and potent chemotactic functions in hematopoietic cells. To investigate whether the action of MIP-1alpha may be regulated at the cellular receptor level, we studied the expression and modulation of MIP-1alpha receptors on CD34(+) cells isolated from normal bone marrow (NBM), umbilical cord blood (CB), and leukapheresis products (LP). Expression of MIP-1alpha receptors on CD34(+) cells was analyzed by two-color flow cytometry using a biotinylated MIP-1alpha molecule. The mean percentage of LP CD34(+) cells expressing the MIP-1alpha receptors was 67.7 +/- 7.2% (mean +/- SEM; n = 22) as compared with 89.9 +/- 2.6% (n = 10) and 74.69 +/- 7.04% (n = 10) in CB and NBM, respectively (P = .4). The expression of the MIP-1alpha receptor subtypes on LP CD34(+) cells was studied by indirect immunofluorescence using specific antibodies for the detection of CCR-1, CCR-4, and CCR-5. Microscopical examination revealed a characteristic staining of the cytoplasmic cell membrane for all three receptor subtypes. Detailed analysis of two LP samples showed that 65.8%, 4.4%, and 30.5% of CD34(+) cells express CCR-1, CCR-4, and CCR-5, respectively. Culture of LP CD34(+) cells for 24 to 36 hours in the presence of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) resulted in a significant increase in MIP-1alpha receptor expression. TNF-alpha induced MIP-1alpha receptor upregulation in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. Our results suggest that inhibitory cytokines produced by the bone marrow microenvironment are likely to be involved in the regulation of MIP-1alpha receptor expression on hematopoietic cells.