Adult bone marrow contains a population of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) that can give rise to cells capable of targeting sites of neovascularization in the peripheral or retinal vasculature. However, relatively little is known about the mechanism of targeting of these cells to sites of neovascularization. We have analyzed subpopulations of HSCs for the expression of a variety of cell surface adhesion molecules and found that R-cadherin, a calcium-dependent cell-cell adhesion molecule important for normal retinal endothelial cell guidance, was preferentially expressed by functionally targeting HSCs. Preincubation of HSCs with function-blocking anti-R-cadherin antibodies or novel R-cadherin-specific peptide antagonists effectively prevented targeting of bone marrow-derived cells to the developing retinal vasculature in vivo. Whereas control-injected HSCs targeted to all 3 normal developing retinal vascular layers, blocking R-cadherin-mediated adhesion resulted in mistargeting of the HSCs to the normally avascular outer retina. Our results suggest that vascular targeting of bone marrow-derived HSCs is dependent on mechanisms similar to those used by endogenous retinal vascular endothelial cells. Thus, R-cadherin antagonists may be useful in the treatment of neovascular diseases in which circulating HSCs contribute to abnormal angiogenesis.