Mutation of the granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) gene by homologous recombination caused alveolar proteinosis in mice. To further discern the role of GM-CSF in surfactant homeostasis, the synthesis of GM-CSF was directed to the respiratory epithelium of GM-CSF-hull mutant mice (GM-/-) with a chimeric gene expressing GM-CSF under the control of the promoter from the human surfactant protein-C (SP-C) gene. Transgenic mice bearing the SP-C-GM-CSF construct (SP-C-GM+) were bred to GM-/- mice resulting in complete correction of alveolar proteinosis in bitransgenic GM-/-, SP-C-GM+ mice. No effects of the transgene were found outside the lung. GM-CSF was increased in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of the bitransgenic mice. Surfactant proteins-A and -B and phospholipid in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid were normalized in the GM-/-, SP-C-GM+ mice. SP-A, -B, and -C mRNAs were unaltered in lungs from GM-CSF-deficient and -replete mice. Expression of GM-CSF in respiratory epithelial cells of transgenic mice restores surfactant homeostasis in GM-/- mice. From these findings, we conclude that GM-CSF regulates the clearance or catabolism rather than synthesis of surfactant proteins and lipids.