Sl/Sld mice are a unique animal model for studying platelet production in that they sustain normal platelet mass despite reduced marrow activity. The aim of this study was to determine if the compensatory mechanisms operating in these mice could be augmented by further reducing bone marrow activity with the drug 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), known to induce a strong stimulatory effect on platelet production. The platelet recovery in Sl/Sld mice after 5-FU administration contrasted that found in their normal littermates. Sl/Sld mice did not display the sustained thrombocytosis that was observed in +/+ mice between days 10 and 14. Platelet number was elevated in Sl/Sld mice at day 20, when the marrow megakaryocyte compartment had normalized. A significant increase in marrow megakaryocyte number and size was observed at days 8 and 11 in both +/+ and Sl/Sld mice after 5-FU administration. The data suggest that the increase in megakaryocyte size and number following 5-FU treatment was not able to significantly contribute to a sustained rebound thrombocytosis at the time of increased marrow megakaryocytopoiesis. It is concluded that the already compromised marrow of Sl/Sld mice is able to respond to the damage invoked by 5-FU to produce larger than normal megakaryocytes. In contrast to normal mice (+/+ littermates), the increase in marrow megakaryocytopoiesis observed does not lead to a thrombocytosis, indicating that platelet production and release in Sl/Sld mice cannot be further amplified by a strong marrow stimulation.