Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor Promotes Behavioral Recovery in a Mouse Model of Traumatic Brain Injury

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Hematopoietic growth factors such as granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) represent a novel approach for treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI). After mild controlled cortical impact (CCI), mice were treated with G-CSF (100 μg/kg) for 3 consecutive days. The primary behavioral endpoint was performance on the radial arm water maze (RAWM), assessed 7 and 14 days after CCI. Secondary endpoints included 1) motor performance on a rotating cylinder (rotarod), 2) measurement of microglial and astroglial response, 3) hippocampal neurogenesis, and 4) measures of neurotrophic factors (brain-derived neurotrophic factor [BDNF] and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor [GDNF]) and cytokines in brain homogenates. G-CSF-treated animals performed significantly better than vehicle-treated mice in the RAWM at 1 and 2 weeks but not on the rotarod. Cellular changes found in the G-CSF group included increased hippocampal neurogenesis as well as astrocytosis and microgliosis in both the striatum and the hippocampus. Neurotrophic factors GDNF and BDNF, elaborated by activated microglia and astrocytes, were increased in G-CSF-treated mice. These factors along with G-CSF itself are known to promote hippocampal neurogenesis and inhibit apoptosis and likely contributed to improvement in the hippocampal-dependent learning task. Six cytokines that were modulated by G-CSF treatment following CCI were elevated on day 3, but only one of them remained altered by day 7, and all of them were no different from vehicle controls by day 14. The pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines modulated by G-CSF administration interact in a complex and incompletely understood network involving both damage and recovery processes, underscoring the dual role of inflammation after TBI. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

The effects of G-CSF in a mouse model of TBI were investigated at three levels of analysis, behavior, cellular response, and impact on neurotrophic factors and cytokines. G-CSF or vehicle was administered for 3 days after mild CCI. Mice in the G-CSF-treated group performed significantly better 14 days after CCI. In addition to the increased microgliosis and astrocytosis in the striatum and the hippocampus, there was a significant increase in expression of BDNF and GDNF that likely contributed to enhanced birth of new neurons in the hippocampus.

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