We have used the parasite helminth Trichinella spiralis to study the generation and differentiation of mast cell progenitors in the bone marrow of mice, as this infection triggers an intestinal mastocytosis which correlates with parasite expulsion. C-kit+ mast cell progenitors have previously been defined by methyl-cellulose colony-forming units and by limiting dilution assays in vitro. In vivo experiments have demonstrated the essential requirement by mast cells for specific integrin expression. We have defined 2 c-kit+ populations in the bone marrow, one of which coexpresses CD49d/β7 integrin, a marker essential for small intestine immigration. We have confirmed the phenotype of these cells by using antagonistic anti-c-kit antibody in vivo. Our data show that the loss of c-kit+/β7+ cells from the bone marrow correlates with their appearance in the blood and precedes detection of mature mast cells in the gut by 3 days. This exit correlates with an increase in soluble stem cell factor (SCF) in the serum, suggesting that the c-kit/SCF interaction may be chemotactic or haptotactic in nature. This study shows that during infection the bone marrow environment generates mast cells destined for the intestinal mucosa before their exit into the periphery, indicating a clear interplay between infection site and hematopoietic tissue. © 2004 by The American Society of Hematology.