Recombinant granulocyte colony-stimulating factor administered enterally to neonates is not absorbed

Pediatrics. 2003 Aug;112(2):421-3. doi: 10.1542/peds.112.2.421.


Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) is present in liquids swallowed by the fetus and neonate; specifically, amniotic fluid, colostrum, and human milk. The swallowed G-CSF has local effects on enteric cells, which express the G-CSF receptor. However, some portion of the G-CSF ingested by the fetus and neonate might be absorbed into the circulation and have systemic actions, such as stimulating neutrophil production. To assess this possibility we sought to determine if circulating G-CSF concentrations of neonates increase after enteral administration of recombinant human granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (rhG-CSF). This was a single-center, prospective, blinded, randomized, 2 x 2 crossover study, with each infant receiving 1 dose of rhG-CSF (100 microg/kg) and 1 dose of placebo. Plasma G-CSF concentrations were measured at 2 and 4 hours after administration of the test solution. No significant change in plasma G-CSF concentration was observed after the enteral administration of rhG-CSF. On this basis, we conclude that orally administered rhG-CSF is not absorbed in significant quantities, and we speculate that the G-CSF swallowed by the fetus and neonate has local but not systemic effects.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Enterocytes / metabolism
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor / administration & dosage
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor / blood
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor / pharmacokinetics*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn / metabolism*
  • Infant, Premature / metabolism
  • Intestinal Absorption*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Single-Blind Method


  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor