Basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF or FGF-2) is an angiogenic and pleiotropic growth factor involved in the proliferation and differentiation of numerous cell types. It is expressed mostly in tissues of mesoderm and neuroectoderm origin, and is thought to play an important role in the mesoderm induction. Although hematopoietic cells derive from the mesoderm, relatively few studies have, until recently, addressed the role of FGF-2 in hematopoiesis. FGF-2 is expressed in cells of the bone marrow including stromal cells, and possibly cells from several hematopoietic cell lineages. It is stored in the bone marrow extra-cellular matrix and released by enzymes such as heparanase, plasmin, or phospholipase C and D. FGF-receptors (FGF-Rs) are expressed in leukemic cell lines and in hematopoietic cells. FGF-2 positively regulates hematopoiesis, by acting on stromal cells, on early and committed hematopoietic progenitors, and possibly on some mature blood cells. The action of FGF-2 is most likely indirect since its action, on megakaryocytopoiesis for example, is abrogated by anti-IL6 antibodies. It synergizes with hematopoietic cytokines, or antagonizes the negative regulatory effects of TGF-beta. Taken together, these results demonstrate that FGF-2 is a potent hematopoietic growth factor that is likely to play an important role in physiological and pathological hematopoiesis.