Electrophoretically pure human interleukin-1 (IL-1) beta was found to stimulate human fibroblasts in a monolayer culture to elaborate colony-stimulating activity (CSA). Supernatant fluids from cultures induced with increasing concentrations of IL-1 were found to stimulate colony formation of myeloid (CFU-GM), erythroid (BFU-E), and multipotent (CFU-GEMM) progenitor cells in a dose-dependent fashion. The effect on mixed colony formation, however, was less than on CFU-GM and BFU-E growth. Similar to IL-1, the synthetical double-stranded RNA poly(rI).poly(rC) also stimulated release of CSA by fibroblasts. The kinetics of IL-1- and poly(rI).poly(rC)-induced CSA release were found to be different, in that poly(rI).poly(rC)-induced CSA production occurred more slowly. Anti-IL-1 antiserum was able to completely neutralize the IL-1-induced CSA release, but had no effect on poly(rI).poly(rC)-induced CSF production, suggesting that the latter effect was mediated by other mechanisms than IL-1 in supernatant. By the use of specific immunologic assays, G-CSF, M-CSF, and GM-CSF could be identified in media conditioned by fibroblasts treated with IL-1 or poly(rI).poly(rC). Poly(rI).poly(rC) appeared to be a better inducer for M-CSF than IL-1.