Although the homing of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) to the bone marrow (BM) is a crucial step in hematopoietic development and BM repopulation, the mechanisms underlying these processes have not been fully clarified. Recent studies suggest that interaction between the chemokine receptor CXCR4 and its ligand, stromal cell-derived factor 1 (SDF-1), plays a critical role in these processes. In addition, dextran sulfate increases plasma SDF-1 levels in mice and nonhuman primates. Thus, we examined the effects of preconditioning with SDF-1 and dextran sulfate on the homing efficiency of HSCs following BM transplantation in mice. We found that the preconditioning of donor mice with either SDF-1 or dextran sulfate enhanced the homing efficiency of infused HSCs in vivo. The greatest effects were obtained with dextran sulfate. Moreover, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction analysis demonstrated that SDF-1 and dextran sulfate increased transcription of a variety of homing-related genes, including those for CXCR4, lymphocyte function associated antigen-1, matrix metalloproteinase-9, very late antigen-4/5, and macrophage inflammatory protein-1. We suggest that whereas SDF-1 directly acts to upregulate CXCR4 expression in HSCs, dextran sulfate acts via multiple pathways involved in the induction of various homing-related molecules, in addition to SDF-1. Thus, preconditioning donors with dextran sulfate offers a novel clinical approach for improving the homing and engraftment of HSCs in the BM.