Delayed application of the haematopoietic growth factors G-CSF/SCF and FL reduces neonatal excitotoxic brain injury

Brain Res. 2016 Mar 1;1634:94-103. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2015.12.058. Epub 2016 Jan 7.


Background: Developmental brain injury results in cognitive and motor deficits in the preterm infant. Enhanced glutamate release and subsequent receptor activation are major pathogenetic factors. The effect of haematopoietic growth factors, such as granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), stem cell factor (SCF) and flt-3 ligand (FL) on neonatal brain injury is controversially discussed. Timing of treatment is known to be a crucial factor. Based on the hypothesis that an exacerbation of injury is caused by administration of substances in the acute phase, the objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of delayed administration of G-CSF/SCF and FL to protect against excitotoxic brain injury in vivo.

Methods: In an established neonatal mouse model of excitotoxic brain injury, we evaluated the effect of daily intraperitoneal doses of G-CSF/SCF or FL, starting 60 h after the excitotoxic insult.

Results: Intraperitoneal injections of G-CSF/SCF and FL, given 60 h after the excitotoxic insult, significantly reduced lesion size at postnatal days 10, 18 and 90. G-CSF/SCF treatment resulted in a decrease in apoptotic cell death indicated by reduced caspase-3 activation. G-CSF/SCF and FL treatment did not affect apoptosis-inducing factor-dependent apoptosis or cell proliferation.

Conclusion: We show that delayed systemic treatment with the haematopoietic growth factors G-CSF/SCF and FL protects against N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor-mediated developmental excitotoxic brain damage. Our results suggest that neuroprotective effects in this neonatal animal model of excitotoxic brain injury depend on the timing of drug administration after the insult.

Keywords: Brain injury; Excitotoxic; FL; G-CSF/SCF; Haemotopoietic growth factors; Newborn.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Brain Injuries / chemically induced
  • Brain Injuries / metabolism*
  • Brain Injuries / pathology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / drug effects*
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor / administration & dosage*
  • Ibotenic Acid
  • Membrane Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Mice
  • Neuroprotective Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / agonists
  • Stem Cell Factor / administration & dosage*


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • Stem Cell Factor
  • flt3 ligand protein
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor
  • Ibotenic Acid