Effects of continuous high-dose G-CSF administration on hematopoietic stem cell mobilization and telomere length in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - a pilot study.


Department of Hematology and Oncology, Internal Medicine III, University Hospital Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany. Electronic address: [Email]


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease of complex and still poorly understood etiology. Loss of upper and lower motoneurons results in death within few years after diagnosis. Recent studies have proposed neuroprotective and disease-slowing effects of granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) treatment in ALS mouse models as well as humans. In this study, six ALS patients were monitored up to 3.5 years during continuous high-dose G-CSF administration. Repetitive analyses were performed including blood count parameters, CD34+ hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell (HSPC) and colony forming cell (CFC) counts, serum cytokine levels and leukocyte telomere length. We demonstrate that continuous G-CSF therapy was well tolerated and safe resulting in only mild adverse events during the observation period. However, no mobilization of CD34+ HSPC was detected as compared to baseline values. CFC mobilization was equally low and even a decrease of myeloid precursors was observed in some patients. Assessment of telomere length within ALS patients' leukocytes revealed that G-CSF did not significantly shorten telomeres, while those of ALS patients were shorter compared to age-matched healthy controls, irrespective of G-CSF treatment. During G-CSF stimulation, TNF-alpha, CRP, IL-16, sVCAM-1, sICAM-1, Tie-2 and VEGF were significantly increased in serum whereas MCP-1 levels decreased. In conclusion, our data show that continuous G-CSF treatment fails to increase circulating CD34+ HSPC in ALS patients. Cytokine profiles revealed G-CSF-mediated immunomodulatory and proteolytic effects. Interestingly, despite intense G-CSF stimulation, telomere length was not significantly shortened.


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS,Cytokines,Granulocyte-colony stimulating factor, G-CSF,Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, HSPC,Telomere length,