Intrathecal Upregulation of Granulocyte Colony Stimulating Factor and Its Neuroprotective Actions on Motor Neurons in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

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To investigate cytokine/chemokine changes in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), we simultaneously measured 16 cytokine/chemokines (interleukin [IL]-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-7, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12 [p70], IL-13, IL-17, interferon-γ, tumor necrosis factor-α, granulocyte colony stimulating factor [G-CSF], macrophage chemoattractant protein-1 [MCP-1], and macrophage inflammatory protein-1β) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and sera from 37 patients with sporadic ALS and 33 controls using a multiplexed fluorescent bead-based immunoassay. We also conducted immunohistochemical analyses from 8 autopsied ALS cases and 6 nonneurologic disease controls as well as cell culture analyses of relevant cytokines and their receptors. We found that concentrations of G-CSF and MCP-1 were significantly increased in ALS CSF compared with controls. In spinal cords, G-CSF was expressed in reactive astrocytes in ALS cases but not controls, whereas G-CSF receptor expression was significantly decreased in motor neurons of spinal cords from ALS cases. Biologically, G-CSF had a protective effect on the NSC34 cell line under conditions of both oxidative and nutritional stress. We suggested that G-CSF has potentially neuroprotective effects on motor neurons in ALS and that downregulation of its receptor might contribute to ALS pathogenesis. On the other hand, MCP-1 correlated with disease severity, which may aggravate motor neuron damage.

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