CSF1R blockade slows the progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis by reducing microgliosis and invasion of macrophages into peripheral nerves

Sci Rep. 2016 May 13;6:25663. doi: 10.1038/srep25663.


Inflammation is a common neuropathological feature in several neurological disorders, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We have studied the contribution of CSF1R signalling to inflammation in ALS, as a pathway previously reported to control the expansion and activation of microglial cells. We found that microglial cell proliferation in the spinal cord of SOD1(G93A) transgenic mice correlates with the expression of CSF1R and its ligand CSF1. Administration of GW2580, a selective CSF1R inhibitor, reduced microglial cell proliferation in SOD1(G93A) mice, indicating the importance of CSF1-CSF1R signalling in microgliosis in ALS. Moreover, GW2580 treatment slowed disease progression, attenuated motoneuron cell death and extended survival of SOD1(G93A) mice. Electrophysiological assessment revealed that GW2580 treatment protected skeletal muscle from denervation prior to its effects on microglial cells. We found that macrophages invaded the peripheral nerve of ALS mice before CSF1R-induced microgliosis occurred. Interestingly, treatment with GW2580 attenuated the influx of macrophages into the nerve, which was partly caused by the monocytopenia induced by CSF1R inhibition. Overall, our findings provide evidence that CSF1R signalling regulates inflammation in the central and peripheral nervous system in ALS, supporting therapeutic targeting of CSF1R in this disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / genetics
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Anisoles / pharmacology
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / genetics
  • Disease Progression
  • Gliosis / genetics
  • Gliosis / metabolism
  • Inflammation / genetics
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microglia / metabolism*
  • Microglia / pathology
  • Motor Neurons / metabolism
  • Peripheral Nerves / metabolism*
  • Pyrimidines / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / genetics
  • Receptors, Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / metabolism*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / genetics
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism


  • 5-(3-methoxy-4-((4-methoxybenzyl)oxy)benzyl)pyrimidine-2,4-diamine
  • Anisoles
  • Csf1r protein, mouse
  • Pyrimidines
  • Receptors, Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor
  • SOD1 G93A protein
  • Superoxide Dismutase