Survivin is a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein (IAP) family that is overexpressed during G(2)/M phase in most cancer cells. In contrast, we previously reported that Survivin is expressed throughout the cell cycle in normal CD34(+) hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells stimulated by the combination of Thrombopoietin (Tpo), Stem Cell Factor (SCF) and Flt3 ligand (FL). In order to address whether Survivin expression is specifically up-regulated by hematopoietic growth factors before cell cycle entry, we isolated quiescent CD34(+) cells and investigated Survivin expression in response to growth factor stimulation. Survivin is up-regulated in CD34(+) cells with 2N DNA content following growth factor addition, suggesting it becomes elevated during G(0)/G(1). Survivin is barely detectable in freshly isolated umbilical cord blood (UCB) Ki-67(negative) and Cyclin D(negative) CD34(+) cells, however incubation with Tpo, SCF and FL for 20 hrs results in up-regulation without entry of cells into cell cycle. Culture of G(0) CD34(+) cells isolated based on Hoechst 33342/PyroninY staining with Tpo, SCF and FL for 48 hrs, results in significantly elevated Survivin mRNA and protein levels. Moreover, labeling of fresh G(0) CD34(+) cells with 5-(and 6-) carboxyfluorescein diacetate succinimidyl ester (CFSE) before culture with growth factors for up to 72 hrs, revealed that Survivin expression was elevated in CFSE(bright) G(0) CD34(+) cells, indicating that up-regulation occurred before entry into G1. These results suggest that up-regulation of Survivin expression in CD34(+) cells is an early event in cell cycle entry that is regulated by hematopoietic growth factors and does not simply reflect cell cycle progression and cell division.