Granulocyte/macrophage-colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), an immunomodulator of hematopoietic cells, has also been shown to stimulate human keratinocyte proliferation in vitro and speed healing of wounds in the skin of lepromatous leprosy patients. In this study we have examined the in vivo effects of recombinant human GM-CSF on epidermal keratinocyte proliferation and on expression of proteins marking regenerative epidermal growth. Skin biopsies from GM-CSF injected cutaneous sites were obtained between 1 and 6 d following administration of 7.5 or 15 μg of the growth factor. Activation of keratinocyte proliferation, quantified as the expression of the KI67+ nuclear antigen, was noted 1 d following GM-CSF administration. A regenerative epidermal phenotype, demonstrated by immunohistochemical staining of cellular proteins involucrin, filaggrin, and keratin 16, was similarly noted as early as 1 d following GM-CSF injection. This phenotype persisted as late as 6 d postinjection. These results suggest that GM-CSF injection into human skin induces keratinocyte proliferation as well as regenerative differentiation of the epidermis. To date no other cytokine has been shown to be mitogenic for human keratinocytes both in vivo and in vitro or to alter keratinocyte differentiation along the "alternate" or regenerative pathway.