Although estrogens and estrogen receptors (ERs) are known to function in the male brain and reproductive tract, few studies have evaluated their involvement in the male hematopoietic and immune systems. This study was undertaken to determine the role of ERalpha in hematopoietic progenitor and B lymphocyte maturation. ERalpha knockout (ER-/-), wild-type (ER+/+), and radiation chimeric (ERalpha positive or negative in either nonhematopoietic or hematopoietic elements, or both) male mice were used to determine target tissues. ER-/- and ER+/+ animals showed similar hematopoietic progenitor profiles, but the ER-/- animals had fewer cells in all bone marrow B lymphocyte subpopulations. Animals receiving a pharmacological dose (5 mg/kg BW) of 17beta-estradiol (E2) with both elements, ER+/+, had decreased early hematopoietic progenitors and a shift toward a mature B cell subpopulation, whereas animals with both elements, ER-/-, showed changes only in early hematopoietic progenitors. Hematopoietic element ER+/+ animals exhibited greater E2-induced hematopoietic progenitor and B lymphocyte alterations than those having only nonhematopoietic ERalpha. These data indicate that 1) ERalpha is not necessary for regulating male mouse normal hematopoietic progenitor cell proportions, but is involved in B cell regulation; and 2) ERalpha in hematopoietic elements is predominantly responsible for mediating E2-induced hematopoietic and B cell changes.