Granulocyte colony‐stimulating factor restored impaired spermatogenesis and fertility in an aml‐chemotherapy mice model

Yulia Michailov, Ali Abumadighem, Eitan Lunenfeld, Joseph Kapelushnik, Mahmoud Huleihel

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5 Scopus citations


Leukemia and treatment of male patients with anticancer therapy (aggressive chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy) may lead to infertility or even permanent male sterility. Their mechanisms of spermatogenesis impairment and the decrease in male fertility are not yet clear. We showed that under acute myeloid leukemia (AML) conditions, alone and in combination with cytarabine (CYT), there was significant damage in the histology of seminiferous tubules, a significant increase in apoptotic cells of the seminiferous tubules, and a reduction in spermatogonial cells (SALL and PLZF) and in meiotic (CREM) and post‐meiotic (ACROSIN) cells. In addition, we showed a significant impairment in sperm parameters and fertilization rates and offspring compared to control. Our results showed a significant decrease in the expression of glial cell line‐derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), macrophage colony‐stimulating factor (MCSF) and stem cell factor (SCF) under AML conditions, but not under cytarabine treatment compared to control. In addition, our results showed a significant increase in the pro‐inflammatory cytokine interleukin‐1 (IL‐1) alpha in whole testis homogenates in all treatment groups compared to the control. Increase in IL‐1 beta level was shown under AML conditions. We identified for the first time the expression of GCSF receptor (GCSFR) in sperm cells. We showed that GCSF injection in combination with AML and cytarabine (AML + CYT + GCSF) extended the survival of mice for a week (from 6.5 weeks to 7.5 weeks) compared to (AML + CYT). Injection of GCSF to all treated groups (post hoc), showed a significant impact on mice testis weight, improved testis histology, decreased apoptosis and increased expression of pre‐meiotic, meiotic and post‐ meiotic markers, improved sperm parameters, fertility capacity and number of offspring compared to the controls (without GCSF). GCSF significantly improved the spermatogonial niche expressed by increased the expression levels of testicular GDNF, SCF and MCSF growth factors in AML‐treated mice and (AML + CYT)‐treated mice compared to those groups without GCSF. Furthermore, GCSF decreased the expression levels of the pro‐inflammatory cytokine IL‐12, but increased the expression of IL‐10 in the interstitial compartment compared to the relevant groups without GCSF. Our results show for the first time the capacity of post injection of GCSF into AML‐ and CYT‐treated mice to improve the cellular and biomolecular mechanisms that lead to improve/restore spermatogenesis and male fertility. Thus, post injection of GCSF may assist in the development of future therapeutic strategies to preserve/restore male fertility in cancer patients, specifically in AML patients under chemotherapy treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11157
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number20
StatePublished - 2 Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
  • Granulocytecolony‐stimulating factor (GCSF)
  • Male infertility
  • Sperm parameters
  • Testis


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