Zidovudine (AZT) treatment suppresses granulocyte-monocyte colony stimulating factor receptor type alpha (GM-CSFRα) gene expression in murine bone marrow cells

Shilpa Chitnis, Debasis Mondal, Krishna C. Agrawal

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In vitro exposure of murine bone marrow cells to increasing concentrations of zidovudine (AZT, 0.1-50 μM) had a concentration dependent suppressive effect on the growth of granulocyte-monocyte colony forming unit (CFU-GM) derived colonies. In our previous published study, the mechanism of AZT-induced suppression of erythroid colony forming unit (CFU-E) derived colonies was linked to a decrease in erythropoitin receptor (Epo-R) gene expression. In this study, we have observed that AZT exposure also induced a concentration dependent suppressive effect (35-90%) on GM-CSF receptor type alpha (GM-CSFRα) gene expression. The suppression of GM-CSFRα mRNA expression was specific, since AZT caused a much lower decrease (15-22%) on the IL-3 receptor type alpha (IL-3Rα) message level, and had an insignificant effect on glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) and c-myc message levels. Erythropoietin (Epo) therapy has been used for reversal of AZT induced erythroid toxicity. Exposure to increasing concentrations (10-500 U/ml) of GM-CSF was unable to override the suppressive effect of AZT on CFU-GM derived colonies, however, treatment in combination with IL-3 (10-250 U/ml) ameliorated the suppressive effects of AZT on CFU-GM and on GM-CSFRα and IL-3Rα gene expression. These findings suggest a mechanism via which AZT may suppress granulocyte-monocyte specific differentiation in murine bone marrow cells. These data also suggest that a combination of GM-CSF and IL-3 may be a superior therapeutic intervention for AZT-induced neutropenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)967-978
Number of pages12
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Jul 12 2002



  • AZT
  • Bone marrow cells
  • GM-CSF receptor
  • IL-3 receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

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