Lethally irradiated mice were grafted with syngeneic bone marrow cells or left ungrafted. Mice of each group were injected with different hematopoietic cytokines for 5 consecutive days starting immediately after irradiation or left uninjected. The recovery of lymphoid tissues induced by hematopoietic cytokines 7 days after irradiation and bone marrow cell transplantation was comparable to that observed at days 21-28 in irradiated, bone marrow-grafted, but cytokine-uninjected mice. IL-11 or IL-6, in combination with IL-3, was able to hasten thymus, spleen and blood cell numbers and functions. SCF also displayed a detectable effect when used with IL-3. Conversely, the IL-6 superagonist K-7/D-6 was able, when injected alone, to induce significant recovery of thymus, spleen and blood cells. Thus, K-7/D-6 appears to be a most efficient cytokine for fast reconstitution of lymphoid tissues after irradiation and bone marrow transplantation.