Background: Stroke is a major cause of severe and long-term disability in adult individuals.
Treatment of this disease is limited by the narrow therapeutic window in which intervention is crucial.
An alternative therapy for stroke could be cellular growth factors, which participate in several pathways
that mediate neuronal cell death.
Methods: We evaluated the neuroprotective ability of different doses of granulocyte colonystimulating
factor (G-CSF; 5, 50 and 100 μg/kg/day) in the mouse model of global cerebral ischemia
induced by bilateral occlusion of the common carotid arteries for 80 minutes. The control group received
vehicle (5% glucose solution) and the treated group was administered with G-CSF at two postsurgery
time-points: immediately after and 24 hours after. Subsequently, muscle strength, leukocyte
count, infarcted cortical area, and apoptosis/TUNEL were evaluated.
Results: The global ischemia promoted an impairment of the strength (16%) and a cerebral infarction
(0.437±0.08 cm2) which were accompanied by apoptosis evaluated by TUNEL in control mice. In
mice treated with G-CSF the strength function was maintained, the infarcted area (~70%) and apoptosis
were decreased in a similar magnitude in all treated groups. Accordingly, the cytokine activities
were confirmed by blood leukocyte count that was increased approximately 2-fold than that observed
in the control group.
Conclusion: The results indicate a neuroprotective effect of G-CSF, even in small doses, in mice subjected
to global cerebral ischemia, thereby reducing the neurofunctional impairment caused by stroke,
when considering the maintenance of muscle strength in the treated animals.