The trans-differentiation hypothesis of adult tissue-specific stem cells has been recently questioned because of insufficient proof that the so-called plasticity experiments were performed on pure populations of tissue-specific stem cells. It was shown recently, for example, that the formation of haematopoietic colonies by muscle cells depended on the presence of haematopoietic stem/progenitor cells residing within the muscle tissue and hence was not related to the plasticity of the muscle stem cells. The explanation for the presence in, or homing into, muscles of haematopoietic stem cells is, however, not clear. In our study, we hypothesised that muscle tissues secrete stromal-derived factor (SDF)- 1, an alpha-chemokine for haematopoietic stem cells (HSC), which could attract HSC circulating in peripheral blood into muscle tissue. We found, using RT-PCR and immunocytochemistry, that SDF-1 was expressed in human heart and skeletal muscles. Moreover, muscle satellite cells, which are pivotal for regeneration of muscle, highly expressed on their surface CXCR4, a G-protein-coupled receptor that binds SDF-1. To determine whether the CXCR4 receptor is functional on muscle satellite/progenitor cells, we stimulated murine satellite cells (the C2C12 cell line) with SDF-1 and demonstrated the phosphorylation of p42/44 MAPK and AKT serine-threonine kinase in these cells. Moreover, we showed that SDF-1 gradient chemoattracts these cells. We postulate that the CXCR4-positive muscle satellite and CXCR4-positive HSC circulating in the peripheral blood compete for occupancy of SDF-1-positive stem cell niches that are present in bone marrow and muscle tissues. Thus, we suggest that competition for common niches by various circulating CXCR4-positive stem cells and their ability to home to the SDF-1-positive niches in various organs, is a better explanation than stem cell plasticity of why (i) haematopoietic colonies can be cultured from muscles and (ii) early muscle progenitors could be cultured from bone marrow.