Hematopoietic growth factors pass through the blood-brain barrier in intact rats

Li Ru Zhao*, Yot Navalitloha, Seema Singhal, Jayesh Mehta, Chun Shu Piao, Wen Ping Guo, John A. Kessler, Dennis R. Groothuis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


We have previously demonstrated that receptors for hematopoietic growth factors, stem cell factor (SCF) and granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) are expressed in the neurons and the neural progenitor cells (NPCs) of the adult rat brain, and that systemic administration of SCF and G-CSF in the first week after induction of cortical brain ischemia (3 h-7 days post-ischemia) significantly improves functional outcome, augments NPC proliferation, and reduces infarct volume in rats. The purpose of the present study is to determine whether SCF and G-CSF pass through the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in intact rats. The growth factors were labeled with iodine (I125), a radioactive compound. I125-SCF and I125-G-CSF were intravenously administered and the concentrations of I125-SCF and I125-G-CSF in the blood plasma and the brain were determined at 10, 30, 60, and 120 min after injection. We observed that both SCF and G-CSF were slowly and continuously transported from the blood stream to the brain in the same rate. In addition, both immunofluorescent staining and Western blots showed that receptors for SCF and G-CSF were expressed in the capillaries of the adult rat brain, suggesting that SCF and G-CSF entry to the brain may be mediated via receptor-mediated transport, one of the endogenous transports in the BBB. These data indicate that both SCF and G-CSF were able to pass through the BBB in intact animals. This observation will help in further exploring the physiological role of peripheral SCF and G-CSF in the brain and therapeutic possibility to chronic stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)569-573
Number of pages5
JournalExperimental Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2007


  • Blood-brain barrier
  • Brain
  • G-CSF
  • Hematopoietic growth factor
  • SCF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience


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