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Dev Biol. 2012 Jul 15;367(2):100-13. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2012.03.026. Epub 2012 Apr 19.

The CSF-1 receptor ligands IL-34 and CSF-1 exhibit distinct developmental brain expression patterns and regulate neural progenitor cell maintenance and maturation.

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  • 1Department of Developmental and Molecular Biology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, NY 10461, USA.


The CSF-1 receptor (CSF-1R) regulates CNS microglial development. However, the localization and developmental roles of this receptor and its ligands, IL-34 and CSF-1, in the brain are poorly understood. Here we show that compared to wild type mice, CSF-1R-deficient (Csf1r-/-) mice have smaller brains of greater mass. They further exhibit an expansion of lateral ventricle size, an atrophy of the olfactory bulb and a failure of midline crossing of callosal axons. In brain, IL-34 exhibited a broader regional expression than CSF-1, mostly without overlap. Expression of IL-34, CSF-1 and the CSF-1R were maximal during early postnatal development. However, in contrast to the expression of its ligands, CSF-1R expression was very low in adult brain. Postnatal neocortical expression showed that CSF-1 was expressed in layer VI, whereas IL-34 was expressed in the meninges and layers II-V. The broader expression of IL-34 is consistent with its previously implicated role in microglial development. The differential expression of CSF-1R ligands, with respect to CSF-1R expression, could reflect their CSF-1R-independent signaling. Csf1r-/- mice displayed increased proliferation and apoptosis of neocortical progenitors and reduced differentiation of specific excitatory neuronal subtypes. Indeed, addition of CSF-1 or IL-34 to microglia-free, CSF-1R-expressing dorsal forebrain clonal cultures, suppressed progenitor self-renewal and enhanced neuronal differentiation. Consistent with a neural developmental role for the CSF-1R, ablation of the Csf1r gene in Nestin-positive neural progenitors led to a smaller brain size, an expanded neural progenitor pool and elevated cellular apoptosis in cortical forebrain. Thus our results also indicate novel roles for the CSF-1R in the regulation of corticogenesis.

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