In steady-state adult hematopoiesis, most hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are in the resting phase of the cell cycle. Upon enhanced hematopoietic demand, HSCs can be induced to divide and self-renew or differentiate. However, the cell-extrinsic signals inducing HSC cycling remain to be elucidated. Using in vivo high-resolution single HSC divisional tracking, we directly demonstrate that clinically applied thrombopoietin receptor but not granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) receptor agonists drive HSCs into self-renewing divisions leading to quantitative expansion of functional HSC as defined by their in vivo serial multilineage and long-term repopulating potential. These results suggest that thrombopoietin mimetics might be applicable to expand HSCs in vivo and to sensitize thrombopoietin receptor-expressing HSCs to cell cycle-dependent cytotoxic agents.