Inflammation exerts multiple effects on the early hematopoietic compartment. Best studied is the role of proinflammatory cytokines in activating adult hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells to dynamically replenish myeloid lineage cells in a process known as emergency myelopoiesis. However, it is increasingly appreciated that the same proinflammatory signaling pathways are used in diverse hematopoietic scenarios. This review focuses on inflammatory signaling in the emergence of the definitive hematopoietic compartment during embryonic life, and tonic inflammatory signals derived from commensal microbiota in shaping the adult hematopoietic compartment in the absence of pathogenic insults. Insights into the unique and shared aspects of inflammatory signaling that regulate hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell function across the lifespan and health span of an individual will enable better diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to hematopoietic dysregulation and malignancies.

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