Kupffer cells were selectively eliminated in mice by the intravenous administration of liposome-entrapped dichloromethylene diphosphonate. At 5 days, small peroxidase-negative and acid-phosphatase-weakly-positive macrophages appeared, increased in number, and differentiated into peroxidase- and acid-phosphatase-positive Kupffer cells. Repopulating small macrophages actively proliferated, and the number of Kupffer cells returned to the normal level by day 14. The numbers of macrophage precursors in the liver as detected by the monoclonal antibodies ER-MP20 and ER-MP58 increased after liposome-entrapped dichloromethylene diphosphonate injection. ER-MP58-positive cells proliferated and differentiated into ER-MP20-positive cells and eventually into BM8-positive Kupffer cells in the liver. Bone-marrow-derived ER-MP58-positive cells were also detectable in the liver and differentiated into ER-MP20-positive cells, but they did not become BM8-positive macrophages. Macrophage colony-stimulating factor mRNA expression was enhanced in the liver 1 day after injection. The administration of macrophage colony-stimulating factor did not shorten the period of Kupffer cell depletion but increased the number and the proliferative capacity of repopulating Kupffer cells. These findings implied that repopulating Kupffer cells are derived from a macrophage precursor pool in the liver rather than from bone-marrow-derived monocytes. Local production of macrophage colony-stimulating factor in the liver plays a crucial role in the differentiation, maturation, and proliferation of Kupffer cells.