Pro-angiogenic bone marrow (BM) cells include subsets of hematopoietic cells that provide vascular support and endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), which under certain permissive conditions could differentiate into functional vascular cells. Recent evidence demonstrates that the chemokine stromal-cell derived factor-1 (SDF-1, also known as CXCL12) has a major role in the recruitment and retention of CXCR4(+) BM cells to the neo-angiogenic niches supporting revascularization of ischemic tissue and tumor growth. However, the precise mechanism by which activation of CXCR4 modulates neo-angiogenesis is not clear. SDF-1 not only promotes revascularization by engaging with CXCR4 expressed on the vascular cells but also supports mobilization of pro-angiogenic CXCR4(+)VEGFR1(+) hematopoietic cells, thereby accelerating revascularization of ischemic organs. Here, we attempt to define the multiple functions of the SDF-1-CXCR4 signaling pathway in the regulation of neo-vascularization during acute ischemia and tumor growth. In particular, we introduce the concept that, by modulating plasma SDF-1 levels, the CXCR4 antagonist AMD3100 acutely promotes, while chronic AMD3100 treatment inhibits, mobilization of pro-angiogenic cells. We will also discuss strategies to modulate the mobilization of essential subsets of BM cells that participate in neo-angiogenesis, setting up the stage for enhancing revascularization or targeting tumor vessels by exploiting CXCR4 agonists and antagonists, respectively.