Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) is a pleiotropic cytokine whose expression is increased in numerous respiratory diseases, particularly in asthma. However, the role of GM-CSF in the pathogenesis of these conditions in vivo remains unclear. Here, we report the functional activities of GM-CSF highly expressed in rat lung after intrapulmonary transfer of the gene coding for murine GM-CSF by using an adenoviral vector. This high, transient expression of GM-CSF led to the sustained but self-limiting accumulation of eosinophils and macrophages associated with tissue injury in the lung followed by varying degrees of irreversible fibrotic reactions observed in later stages. These results suggest that GM-CSF plays a previously unrealized role in the development of respiratory conditions characterized by eosinophilia, granuloma and/or fibrosis and provide the rationale for targeting this molecule in these diseases.
Z Xing, Y Ohkawara, M Jordana, F Graham, J Gauldie