Human bone marrow endothelial cells (HBMEC) are intimately involved in the homing of hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPC) to the bone marrow and in the regulation of proliferation and differentiation of these cells. Because availability of primary HBMEC and their capacity to be cultured in vitro are limited, we used isolated HBMEC to establish a cloned cell line by microinjection of a recombinant plasmid expressing simian virus 40 early genes under the control of a deletion mutant of the human vimentin promoter. Serum requirements for growth of a transformed HBMEC line (TrHBMEC) were markedly decreased compared with those of primary cells, and added growth factors were not required for proliferation. Cells took up acetylated low-density lipoprotein normally, bound to Ulex europaeus lectin, and stained positively for von Willebrand factor, P-selectin, CD31, CD34, CD44, very late antigen-5, and intercellular adhesion molecule-2 (ICAM-2). After treatment with TNF-alpha or lipopolysaccharide, TrHBMEC increased surface expression of E-selectin, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), and ICAM-1 in a manner similar to primary HBMEC. In contrast, IL-1 beta elicited much less up-regulation of these adhesion molecules than in primary cells. In previous work, we reported that, in a flow adhesion model, rolling of peripheral blood CD34+ cells on primary HBMEC was E-selectin-dependent, whereas VCAM-1 and ICAM-1 contributed to firm adhesion. In the present study, we show that HPC adhere in a similar way to TrHBMEC. A less-pronounced role for VCAM-1 and ICAM-1 was found in the adhesion of HPC to human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Furthermore, significantly more CD34+ cells adhered to TNF-alpha-stimulated HBMEC and TrHBMEC than to similarly stimulated human umbilical vein endothelial cells. These data emphasize the importance of using microvessel HBMEC for studying the homing of HPC to the bone marrow, and indicate the usefulness of the above-described bone marrow endothelial cell line.