Murine recombinant granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (rGM-CSF) was injected in mice, and the effects on bone marrow, splenic megakaryocytes, megakaryocyte precursors (megakaryocyte colony-forming units [CFU-Meg]) were evaluated. In mice injected three times a day for 6 days with 12,000 to 120,000 U rGM-CSF, no significant modification of both platelet levels and mean platelet volume was observed, while there was a twofold increase in blood neutrophils. However, the rate of platelet production, as assessed by the measurement of 75selenomethionine incorporation into blood platelets, was On the contrary, administration of up to 384,000 U rGM-CSF two times a day for 2 days, as for a typical “thrombopoietin assay,” failed to modify platelet production. A significant dose-related increase in the number of splenic megakaryocytes occurred in mice receiving 60,000 to 120,000 U rGM-CSF, while a slight increase in the number of bone marrow megakaryocytes was observed in mice injected with 120,000 U rGM-CSF. The proportion of bone marrow megakaryocytes with a size less than 18 microns and greater than 35 microns resulted significantly higher in mice receiving rGM-CSF in comparison with controls; an increase in the percentage of splenic megakaryocytes greater than 35 microns was also observed. A statistically significant increase in the total spleen content of CFU-Meg was observed after administration of 90,000 and 120,000 U rGM-CSF three times a day for 6 days, while no effect on bone marrow CFU-Meg was recorded, irrespective of the dose delivered. Finally, 24 hours after a single intravenous injection of rGM-CSF, there was a significant increase in the proportion of CFU-Meg in S- phase, with the splenic progenitors being more sensitive than bone marrow-derived CFU-Meg. These data indicate that rGM-CSF has in vivo megakaryocyte stimulatory activity, and are consistent with previous in vitro observations. However, an effective stimulation of megakaryocytopoiesis in vivo, bringing about an increase in the levels of blood platelets, may require interaction of rGM-CSF with other cytokines.

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