Previous studies in myelin-mutant mouse models of the inherited and incurable nerve disorder, Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) neuropathy, have demonstrated that low-grade secondary inflammation implicating phagocytosing macrophages amplifies demyelination, Schwann cell dedifferentiation and perturbation of axons. The cytokine colony stimulating factor-1 (CSF-1) acts as an important regulator of these macrophage-related disease mechanisms, as genetic and pharmacologic approaches to block the CSF-1/CSF-1R signaling result in a significant alleviation of pathological alterations in mutant peripheral nerves. In mouse models of CMT1A and CMT1X, as well as in human biopsies, CSF-1 is predominantly expressed by endoneurial fibroblasts, which are closely associated with macrophages, suggesting local stimulatory mechanisms. Hereweinvestigated the impact of cell-surface and secreted isoforms of CSF-1 on macrophagerelated disease in connexin32-deficient (Cx32def) mice, a mouse model of CMT1X. Our present observations suggest that the secreted proteoglycan isoform (spCSF-1) is predominantly expressed by fibroblasts, whereas the membrane-spanning cell-surface isoform (csCSF-1) is expressed by macrophages. Using crossbreeding approaches to selectively restore or overexpress distinct isoforms in CSF-1-deficient (osteopetrotic) Cx32def mice, we demonstrate that both isoforms equally regulate macrophage numbers dosedependently. However, spCSF-1 mediates macrophage activation and macrophage-related neural damage, whereas csCSF-1 inhibits macrophage activation and attenuates neuropathy. These results further corroborate the important role of secondary inflammation in mouse models of CMT1 and might identify specific targets for therapeutic approaches to modulate innate immune reactions.
- Colony stimulating factor-1
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