Loss of dopaminergic neurons along the nigrostriatal axis, neuroinflammation, and peripheral immune dysfunction are the pathobiological hallmarks of Parkinson's disease (PD). Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) has been successfully tested for PD treatment. GM-CSF is a known immune modulator that induces regulatory T cells (Tregs) and serves as a neuronal protectant in a broad range of neurodegenerative diseases. Due to its short half-life, limited biodistribution, and potential adverse effects, alternative long-acting treatment schemes are of immediate need. A long-acting mouse GM-CSF (mPDM608) was developed through Calibr, a Division of Scripps Research. Following mPDM608 treatment, complete hematologic and chemistry profiles and T-cell phenotypes and functions were determined. Neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory capacities of mPDM608 were assessed in 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-intoxicated mice that included transcriptomic immune profiles. Treatment with a single dose of mPDM608 resulted in dose-dependent spleen and white blood cell increases with parallel enhancements in Treg numbers and immunosuppressive function. A shift in CD4+ T-cell gene expression towards an anti-inflammatory phenotype corresponded with decreased microgliosis and increased dopaminergic neuronal cell survival. mPDM608 elicited a neuroprotective peripheral immune transformation. The observed phenotypic shift and neuroprotective response was greater than observed with recombinant GM-CSF (rGM-CSF) suggesting human PDM608 as a candidate for PD treatment.
Keywords: GM-CSF; MPTP; Parkinson’s disease; Treg; neuroprotection; regulatory T cell.