GM-CSF is recently being suggested to play important role(s) in the nervous system. Present study was intended to understand signal transduction pathways of GM-CSF in human neuroblastoma (SK-N-(BE)2) and glioblastoma (A172) cell lines. The expression of GM-CSF receptors on the surface of these cells was confirmed by immunocytochemistry, Western blot analysis and RT-PCR. When treated for 10 min, GM-CSF activated the signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 (STAT5) and extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK) in both cell lines. However, Janus kinase 2 (JAK2) was activated only in A172 cells but not in SK-N-(BE)2 cells by GM-CSF. The GM-CSF-activated cellular signal pathways were specifically inhibited by the pretreatment of GM-CSF receptor α antibody, suggesting the specificity of the signal activation. The experiment using specific inhibitors (AG490) to the JAK/STAT pathway showed that JAK2/STAT5 cascade was well preserved and activated by GM-CSF in A172 cells, while STAT5 was activated by GM-CSF without JAK2 activation in SK-N-(EB)2 cells. The ERK pathway was activated by GM-CSF independently of JAK2 in both cell lines. Finally, GM-CSF showed cytoprotective effect on these cell lines by inhibiting cytotoxicity of saturosporine. The results revealed the signal transduction pathways activated by GM-CSF in neural cells and suggested that GM-CSF might affect the neural functions via these signal pathways.
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