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J Immunol. 2016 Dec 1;197(11):4392-4402. Epub 2016 Nov 2.

Therapeutic Targeting of the G-CSF Receptor Reduces Neutrophil Trafficking and Joint Inflammation in Antibody-Mediated Inflammatory Arthritis.

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CSL Ltd., Bio21 Institute, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia;
CSL Ltd., Bio21 Institute, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia.
Reid Rheumatology Laboratory, Inflammation Division, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia; and.
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria 3000, Australia.


G-CSF is a hemopoietic growth factor that has a role in steady state granulopoiesis, as well as in mature neutrophil activation and function. G-CSF- and G-CSF receptor-deficient mice are profoundly protected in several models of rheumatoid arthritis, and Ab blockade of G-CSF also protects against disease. To further investigate the actions of blocking G-CSF/G-CSF receptor signaling in inflammatory disease, and as a prelude to human studies of the same approach, we developed a neutralizing mAb to the murine G-CSF receptor, which potently antagonizes binding of murine G-CSF and thereby inhibits STAT3 phosphorylation and G-CSF receptor signaling. Anti-G-CSF receptor rapidly halted the progression of established disease in collagen Ab-induced arthritis in mice. Neutrophil accumulation in joints was inhibited, without rendering animals neutropenic, suggesting an effect of G-CSF receptor blockade on neutrophil homing to inflammatory sites. Consistent with this, neutrophils in the blood and arthritic joints of anti-G-CSF receptor-treated mice showed alterations in cell adhesion receptors, with reduced CXCR2 and increased CD62L expression. Furthermore, blocking neutrophil trafficking with anti-G-CSF receptor suppressed local production of proinflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6) and chemokines (KC, MCP-1) known to drive tissue damage. Differential gene expression analysis of joint neutrophils showed a switch away from an inflammatory phenotype following anti-G-CSF receptor therapy in collagen Ab-induced arthritis. Importantly, G-CSF receptor blockade did not adversely affect viral clearance during influenza infection in mice. To our knowledge, we describe for the first time the effect of G-CSF receptor blockade in a therapeutic model of inflammatory joint disease and provide support for pursuing this therapeutic approach in treating neutrophil-associated inflammatory diseases.

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