Microglial Homeostasis Requires Balanced CSF-1/CSF-2 Receptor Signaling

Violeta Chitu, Fabrizio Biundo, Gabriel G.L. Shlager, Eun S. Park, Ping Wang, Maria E. Gulinello, Şölen Gokhan, Harmony C. Ketchum, Kusumika Saha, Michael A. DeTure, Dennis W. Dickson, Zbignew K. Wszolek, Deyou Zheng, Andrew L. Croxford, Burkhard Becher, Daqian Sun, Mark F. Mehler, E. Richard Stanley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


CSF-1R haploinsufficiency causes adult-onset leukoencephalopathy with axonal spheroids and pigmented glia (ALSP). Previous studies in the Csf1r+/− mouse model of ALSP hypothesized a central role of elevated cerebral Csf2 expression. Here, we show that monoallelic deletion of Csf2 rescues most behavioral deficits and histopathological changes in Csf1r+/− mice by preventing microgliosis and eliminating most microglial transcriptomic alterations, including those indicative of oxidative stress and demyelination. We also show elevation of Csf2 transcripts and of several CSF-2 downstream targets in the brains of ALSP patients, demonstrating that the mechanisms identified in the mouse model are functional in humans. Our data provide insights into the mechanisms underlying ALSP. Because increased CSF2 levels and decreased microglial Csf1r expression have also been reported in Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis, we suggest that the unbalanced CSF-1R/CSF-2 signaling we describe in the present study may contribute to the pathogenesis of other neurodegenerative conditions. ALSP is a dementia caused by dominantly inherited inactivating mutations in the CSF1R. Chitu et al. report that CSF2 expression is increased in ALSP patients. Targeting Csf2 in ALSP mice prevents behavioral deficits and callosal atrophy and reduces demyelination by normalizing microglial function, identifying CSF-2 as a potential therapeutic target in ALSP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3004-3019.e5
JournalCell Reports
Issue number9
StatePublished - Mar 3 2020


  • ALSP
  • CSF-1R
  • GM-CSF
  • demyelination
  • leukodystrophy
  • microglia
  • neurodegeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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