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Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a major factor in tumor-host interactions, plays a critical role in the aberrant hematopoiesis observed in cancer-bearing hosts. To dissect the roles of VEGF receptor (VEGFR)-1 and VEGFR-2 in cancer-associated hematopoiesis in vivo, we selectively stimulated VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2 by continuous infusion of receptor-specific ligands or selective blockade with VEGF receptor-specific antibodies in mice infused with recombinant VEGF at levels observed in tumor-bearing animals. We found that the effect of VEGF on the accumulation of Gr1(+)CD11b(+) cells is mediated by VEGFR-2, but that the 2 receptors have opposite effects on lymphocyte development. Pathophysiologic levels of VEGF strongly inhibit T-cell development via VEGFR-2, whereas VEGFR-1 signaling decreases this inhibition. VEGFR-1, and not VEGFR-2, signaling is responsible for the observed increase of splenic B cells. Both receptors are capable of inhibiting dendritic cell function. These data suggest that most of observed aberrant hematopoiesis caused by excess tumor-derived VEGF is mediated by VEGFR-2, and VEGFR-1 alone has very limited independent effects but clearly both positively and negatively modulates the effects of VEGFR-2. Our findings suggest that selective blockade of VEGFR-2 rather than of both receptors may optimally overcome the adverse hematologic consequences of elevated VEGF levels found in malignancy.