The thrombopoietin receptor (Mpl) is involved in the pathogenesis of chronic myeloproliferative disorders (CMPD). In this study, we determined Mpl expression by bone marrow cells and megakaryocytes in CMPD by applying laser microdissection, real-time RT-PCR, and immunohistochemistry. Mpl mRNA expression was significantly increased up to 9-fold in total bone marrow cells (p < 0.001) and up to 4-fold in megakaryocytes in chronic myeloproliferative disorders (n = 73) compared to normal controls (n = 26, p = 0.01). Immunohistochemistry revealed heterogeneous Mpl expression by megakaryocytes in CMPD with a stronger accentuation in idiopathic myelofibrosis (IMF) in comparison to polycythaemia vera (PV) and essential thrombocythemia (ET). In addition to megakaryocytes, the erythropoietic lineage was prominently labelled by Mpl antiserum, with considerably stronger staining in polycythaemia vera. We conclude that, in CMPD, megakaryocytes and erythroid cells exhibit increased Mpl expression levels which may contribute to the sustained proliferation of both cell lineages in CMPD. Copyright © 2004 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.