Potential use of granulocyte colon-stimulating factor and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor in neonates

Curr Opin Hematol. 1998 May;5(3):215-20. doi: 10.1097/00062752-199805000-00012.


The immaturity of neonatal phagocytic immunity contributes to increased mortality during neonatal sepsis. Neonates have both quantitative and qualitative neutrophil defects with decreased bone marrow neutrophil storage pool (NSP) reserves, an inability to increase neutrophil production, and defective neutrophil functional activity. Neonates respond to overwhelming sepsis with depletion of the NSP and the development of peripheral neutropenia. The myelopoietic cytokines granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) have been documented to induce neutrophilia in neonatal animals and human infants, increase the NSP, and upregulate neutrophils for improved functional activity. Preclinical studies in neonatal rats demonstrate increased survival with prophylactic G-CSF during experimental group B streptococcal sepsis. In pilot phase I/II human trials, G-CSF and GM-CSF were demonstrated to be both safe and well tolerated and to induce significant increases in absolute neutrophil count and NSP. Prophylactic GM-CSF in the very low birth weight neonate may reduce the incidence of nosocomial infections. Phase III trials are needed to further delineate the clinical usefulness of these myelopoietic cytokines in neonates with a high predisposition to sepsis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor / therapeutic use*
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn / blood
  • Infant, Newborn / immunology*
  • Neutrophils / drug effects
  • Rats


  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor