It was previously reported that treatment with the sulfated polysaccharide fucoidan or the structurally similar dextran sulfate increased circulating mature white blood cells and hematopoietic progenitor/stem cells (HPCs) in mice and nonhuman primates; however, the mechanism mediating these effects was unclear. It is reported here that plasma concentrations of the highly potent chemoattractant stromal-derived factor 1 (SDF-1) increase rapidly and dramatically after treatment with fucoidan in monkeys and in mice, coinciding with decreased levels in bone marrow. In vitro and in vivo data suggest that the SDF-1 increase is due to its competitive displacement from heparan sulfate proteoglycans that sequester the chemokine on endothelial cell surfaces or extracellular matrix in bone marrow and other tissues. Although moderately increased levels of interleukin-8, MCP1, or MMP9 were also present after fucoidan treatment, studies in gene-ablated mice (GCSFR(-/-), MCP1(-/-), or MMP9(-/-)) and the use of metalloprotease inhibitors do not support their involvement in the concurrent mobilization. Instead, SDF-1 increases, uniquely associated with sulfated glycan-mobilizing treatments and not with several other mobilizing agents tested, are likely responsible. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first published report of disrupting the SDF-1 gradient between bone marrow and peripheral blood through a physiologically relevant mechanism, resulting in mobilization with kinetics similar to other mobilizing CXC chemokines. The study further underscores the importance of the biological roles of carbohydrates.