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Protective role of G-CSF in dextran sulfate sodium-induced acute colitis through generating gut-homing macrophages

Meshkibaf, S;Martins, AJ;Henry, GT;Kim, SO;

Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) is a pleiotropic cytokine best known for its role in promoting the generation and function of neutrophils. G-CSF is also found to be involved in macrophage generation and immune regulation; however, its in vivo role in immune homeostasis is largely unknown. Here, we examined the role of G-CSF in dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced acute colitis using G-CSF receptor-deficient (G-CSFR(-/-)) mice. Mice were administered with 1.5% DSS in drinking water for 5days, and the severity of colitis was measured for the next 5days. GCSFR(-/-) mice were more susceptible to DSS-induced colitis than G-CSFR(+/+) or G-CSFR(-/+) mice. G-CSFR(-/-) mice harbored less F4/80(+) macrophages, but a similar number of neutrophils, in the intestine. In vitro, bone marrow-derived macrophages prepared in the presence of both G-CSF and macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) (G-BMDM) expressed higher levels of regulatory macrophage markers such as programmed death ligand 2 (PDL2), CD71 and CD206, but not in arginase I, transforming growth factor (TGF)-, Ym1 (chitinase-like 3) and FIZZ1 (found in inflammatory zone 1), and lower levels of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), CD80 and CD86 than bone marrow-derived macrophages prepared in the presence of M-CSF alone (BMDM), in response to interleukin (IL)-4/IL-13 and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)/interferon (IFN)-, respectively. Adoptive transfer of G-BMDM, but not BMDM, protected G-CSFR(-/-) mice from DSS-induced colitis, and suppressed expression of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-, IL-1 and iNOS in the intestine. These results suggest that G-CSF plays an important role in preventing colitis, likely through populating immune regulatory macrophages in the intestine.