We have previously reported that bone marrow progenitors in dogs, specifically granulocyte-macrophage colony-forming units (GM-CFU), increase developing airway hyperresponsiveness after inhalation of the allergen Ascaris suum. In the present study, we evaluated whether this increased marrow hemopoietic activity can be stimulated by a factor in serum after allergen challenge. Serum samples taken from dogs prior to and 20 min, 2 h, and 24 h after Ascaris or diluent challenge were added to bone marrow cells aspirated prior to challenge, and GM-CFU measured. A second bone marrow aspirate was performed 24 h after challenge. Nonadherent mononuclear bone marrow cells were incubated for 8 days in the presence of the serum and recombinant canine hemopoietic cytokines (stem cell factor, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, GM colony-stimulating factor). Eight dogs that developed (airway responders) and eight dogs that did not develop (airway nonresponders) allergen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness were studied. Allergen inhalation increased bone marrow GM-CFU in response to all three growth media in vitro for the airway responder (P < 0.05) but not airway nonresponder dogs. The 24-h serum, taken from the airway responder but not the airway nonresponder dogs, produced a similar increase in granulocyte progenitors when added to the bone marrow taken before allergen inhalation (P < 0.05). These findings demonstrate that bone marrow-derived granulocyte progenitors are upregulated by a factor that can be shown to be present in serum 24 h after allergen challenge in dogs that develop allergen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness. Whether in vivo stimulation of bone marrow inflammatory cell production is necessary for the development of allergen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness remains to be proven.