Colony-stimulating factor

Colony-stimulating factors (CSFs) are secreted glycoproteins that bind to receptor proteins on the surfaces of hemopoietic stem cells, thereby activating intracellular signaling pathways that can cause the cells to proliferate and differentiate into a specific kind of blood cell (usually white blood cells. For red blood cell formation, see erythropoietin).

They may be synthesized and administered exogenously. However, such molecules can at a latter stage be detected, since they differ slightly from the endogenous ones in, e.g., features of posttranslational modification.



The name "colony-stimulating factors" comes from the method by which they were discovered.

Hemopoietic stem cells were cultured (see cell culture) on a so-called semisolid matrix, which prevents cells from moving around, so that, if a single cell starts proliferating, all of the cells derived from it will remain clustered around the spot in the matrix where the first cell was originally located. These are referred to as "colonies." Therefore, it was possible to add various substances to cultures of hemopoietic stem cells and then examine which kinds of colonies (if any) were "stimulated" by them.

The substance that was found to stimulate formation of colonies of macrophages, for instance, was called macrophage colony-stimulating factor, for granulocytes, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, and so on.


The colony-stimulating factors are soluble, in contrast to other, membrane-bound substances of the hematopoietic microenvironment. This is sometimes used as the definition of CSFs. They transduce by paracrine, endocrine, or autocrine signaling.


Colony-stimulating factors include:

Clinical Uses

  • Bone Marrow Stimulation
  • Stem Cell mobilization


Alberts, Bruce; et al. (2002). Molecular Biology of the Cell (4th ed.). New York, NY: Garland Science. ISBN 0-8153-4072-9. 

External links

Proteoglycan Other
biochemical families: prot · nucl · carb (glpr, alco, glys) · lipd (fata/i, phld, strd, gllp, eico) · amac/i · ncbs/i · ttpy/i

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • colony-stimulating factor — noun : any of several glycoproteins that promote the differentiation of stem cells especially into blood granulocytes and macrophages and that stimulate their proliferation into colonies in culture abbreviation CSF; see granulocyte colony… …   Useful english dictionary

  • colony-stimulating factor — CSF one of a group of substances (haemopoietic growth factors or hormones) that are produced in the bone marrow and stimulate the production of specific blood cells. Genetically engineered granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G CSF) stimulates… …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • colony-stimulating factor — noun Date: 1969 any of several glycoproteins that promote the differentiation of stem cells especially into blood granulocytes and macrophages and that stimulate their proliferation into colonies in culture …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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  • Colony stimulating factor 1 receptor — Rendering based on PDB 2I0V …   Wikipedia

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  • Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor — Not to be confused with granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor. Colony stimulating factor 3 (granulocyte) Crystal structure of 3 molecules of human G CSF. From PDB …   Wikipedia

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