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Mol Reprod Dev. 1997 Jan;46(1):54-60; discussion 60-1.

Role of colony-stimulating factor-1 in reproduction and development.

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


The CSF-1 null mouse, osteopetrotic, has provided a powerful model in which to study the biological functions of CSF-1. In this review, I will describe our studies that have used this mouse model to determine the impact of a lack of CSF-1 on developmental processes and in reproduction. A role for CSF-1 in reproduction was originally suggested by the sex steroid hormone-regulated uterine epithelial synthesis of CSF-1 and the expression of its receptor in trophoblast and decidual cells. Studies on the fertility of CSF-1 deficient osteopetrotic mice (csfmop/csfmop) mice confirmed this suggestion and in addition revealed an unexpected function for CSF-1 in male fertility. In both sexes, CSF-1 appears to regulate gonadal steroidogenesis, probably through its action on macrophages that are abundant throughout the ovary and testis. In the female, CSF-1 affects ovulation in vivo and in vitro, and impacts the preimplantation embryo, increasing both its rate of development and the number of trophectodermal cells in the blastocyst. CSF-1 also has a role in mammary gland development during pregnancy, since at mid-gestation in csfmop/csfmop mice, ductal branching is impaired, and after partiturition, there is a failure to switch to lactation. The relative failure of csfmop/csfmop mice to respond to external stimuli also suggested a role for CSF-1 in the brain. CSF-1 mRNA is expressed in a regional specific manner in the brain through development whilst the CSF-1 receptor is expressed throughout the brain in microglia. CSF-1 is neurotrophic in embryonic neuronal cultures and its absence in csfmop/csfmop mice results in severe electro-physiological abnormalities in the cortex. This suggests that CSF-1 is a neurotrophic factor acting through the microglia. The pleiotropic roles for CSF-1 in reproduction and in the brain suggest that CSF-1 exerts many of its action through the trophic activities of cells of the mononuclear phagocytic lineage.

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