Adherent cell layers and their associated extracellular matrices form when human marrow is incubated in cultures containing hydrocortisone and horse serum. These stromal layers contain cells positive for alkaline phosphatase; secrete collagens types I and III and fibronectin, bind the anti-actin monoclonal antibodies (MoAbs) HHF and CGA-7; stain with oil red O, and express the acetylated LDL receptor. Highly purified CD34 (My10)-positive progenitor cells attach to these stromal layers, and a 16-fold enrichment of CFU-GM in both stromal attachment and semisolid agar assays was observed. Granulopoiesis persisted up to 40 days (mean duration 25 days) after passaged stroma were recharged with stromal cell-depleted target cells in a two-stage liquid marrow culture system. Although equal to marrow fibroblasts in their ability to bind CD34+ myeloid progenitors, stromal layers were better at supporting granulopoiesis. This system provides an in vitro model to characterize the components of stroma and stroma-cytomatrix that enhance marrow progenitor cell localization and maintenance.