Tumor-necrosis factor (TNF) has been shown to confer significant radioprotection in murine models. Herein, we demonstrate a dose-dependent enhancement of hematological recovery when single doses of either murine or human recombinant TNF are administered prior to irradiation. In addition to its action upon leukocytes and erythocytes, TNF also alleviates radiation-induced thrombocytopenia in the mouse. These effects on circulating blood constituents are further reflected in increased numbers of both primitive (CFU-S) and more differentiated (CFU-GM, CFU-Mega) hematopoietic progenitors in TNF-treated animals. This suggests that TNF exerts it radioprotective effects on a pool of primitive multi-potential hematopoietic cells. (author).