Targeted disruption of the mouse colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor gene results in osteopetrosis, mononuclear phagocyte deficiency, increased primitive progenitor cell frequencies, and reproductive defects.
The effects of colony-stimulating factor 1 (CSF-1), the primary regulator of mononuclear phagocyte production, are thought to be mediated by the CSF-1 receptor (CSF-1R), encoded by the c-fms proto-oncogene. To investigate the in vivo specificity of CSF-1 for the CSF-1R, the mouse Csf1r gene was inactivated. The phenotype of Csf1(-)/Csf1r(-) mice closely resembled the phenotype of CSF-1-nullizygous (Csf1(op)/Csf1(op)) mice, including the osteopetrotic, hematopoietic, tissue macrophage, and reproductive phenotypes. Compared with their wild-type littermates, splenic erythroid burst-forming unit and high-proliferative potential colony-forming cell levels in both Csf1(op)/Csf1(op) and Csf1(-)/Csf1r(-) mice were significantly elevated, consistent with a negative regulatory role of CSF-1 in erythropoiesis and the maintenance of primitive hematopoietic progenitor cells. The circulating CSF-1 concentration in Csf1r(-)/Csf1r(-) mice was elevated 20-fold, in agreement with the previously reported clearance of circulating CSF-1 by CSF-1R-mediated endocytosis and intracellular destruction. Despite their overall similarity, several phenotypic characteristics of the Csf1r(-)/Csf1r(-) mice were more severe than those of the Csf1(op)/Csf1(op) mice. The results indicate that all of the effects of CSF-1 are mediated via the CSF-1R, but that subtle effects of the CSF-1R could result from its CSF-1-independent activation.