Although the triterpene CDDO and its potent derivatives, CDDO-Im and CDDO-Me, are now in phase I/II studies in the treatment of some pathological conditions, their effects on normal hematopoiesis are not known. In the present study we provide evidence that CDDO-Im exerts in vitro a potent inhibitory effect on erythroid cell proliferation and survival and a stimulatory action on megakaryocytic differentiation. The effect of CDDO-Im on erythroid and megakaryocytic differentiation was evaluated both on normal hemopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) induced to selective erythroid (E) or megakaryocytic (Mk) differentiation and on erythroleukemic cell lines HEL and TF1. The inhibitory effect of CDDO-Im on erythroid cell survival and proliferation is mainly related to a reduced GATA-1 expression. This conclusion is supported by the observation that GATA-1 overexpressing TF1 cells are partially protected from the inhibitory effect of CDDO-Im on cell proliferation and survival. The stimulatory effect of CDDO-Im on normal megakaryopoiesis is seemingly related to upmodulation of GATA2 expression and induction of mitogen-activated protein kinases ERK1/2.