Recombinant human granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (rhG-CSF) was administered (50 to 800 micrograms/m2) once daily as a half-hour intravenous (IV) infusion for 14 days to seven patients with malignant lymphoma. In all patients, administration of rhG-CSF not only ameliorated the decrease in absolute neutrophil count after the cytotoxic chemotherapy but also enhanced superoxide (O2-) release in neutrophils stimulated by N-formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine (FMLP). The priming effect of rhG-CSF on neutrophil O2- release was rapid (evident within 6.5 hours) and sustained at least for 24 hours after a single IV administration of rhG-CSF. The responsiveness to further in vitro challenge of rhG-CSF was lost or reduced in neutrophils isolated after rhG-CSF treatment, indicating that neutrophils already primed in vivo by rhG-CSF are desensitized to this factor. In contrast to the results obtained with FMLP, when phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) was used as stimulus, no consistent enhancement of O2- release was observed, suggesting that rhG-CSF modulates the signal transduction pathways linked to FMLP receptors rather than increases the components of the O2- producing enzyme complexes. Administration of rhG-CSF also rapidly (evident within 15 minutes) caused an increase in expression of neutrophil C3bi-receptors that was sustained for at least 24 hours after a single IV administration of rhG- CSF. Pharmacokinetic study of rhG-CSF showed a half-life (t1/2) of 114 min. These findings show that rhG-CSF is a potent activator for neutrophil functions both in vivo and in vitro.

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