The effects of transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF-beta 1) on human hematopoiesis were evaluated in combination with two other regulatory cytokines, namely, recombinant human tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and recombinant human interferon-alpha (rIFN-alpha). Combinations of TNF-alpha and TGF-beta 1 resulted in a synergistic suppression of colony formation by erythroid progenitor cells (BFU-E) and an additive suppression of granulocyte-macrophage (CFU-GM) and multipotential (CFU-GEMM) progenitor cells. In addition, TGF-beta 1 synergized with rIFN-alpha to suppress CFU-GM formation, while the combined suppressive effects of both cytokines on CFU-GEMM and BFU-E were additive. When TGF-beta 1 was tested with TNF-alpha or IFN-alpha on granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF)-stimulated bone marrow cells in a 5-day proliferation assay, the antiproliferative effects of TGF-beta 1 and TNF-alpha were additive, while those with TGF-beta 1 and rIFN-alpha were synergistic. A similar pattern was seen in the suppression of the myeloblastic cell line KG-1 where TGF-beta 1 in combination with TNF-alpha resulted in an additive suppression while inhibition by TGF-beta 1 and IFN-alpha was synergistic. These results demonstrate for the first time the cooperative effects between TGF-beta and TNF-alpha and IFN-alpha in the suppression of hematopoietic cell growth, raising the possibility that TGF-beta might be used in concert with TNF-alpha or IFN-alpha in the treatment of various myeloproliferative disorders.