M-CSF (or CSF-1) is a hematopoietic growth factor that is involved in the proliferation, differentiation, and survival of monocytes, macrophages, and bone marrow progenitor cells. M-CSF affects macrophages and monocytes in several ways, including stimulating increased phagocytic and chemotactic activity, and increased tumour cell cytotoxicity.
M-CSF released by osteoblasts (as a result of endocrine stimulation by parathyroid hormone) exerts paracrine effects on osteoclasts. M-CSF binds to receptors on osteoclasts inducing differentiation, and ultimately leading to increased plasma calcium levels—through the resorption (breakdown) of bone. Additionally, high levels of CSF-1 expression are observed in the endometrial epithelium of the pregnant uterus as well as high levels of its receptor CSF1R in the placental trophoblast. Studies have shown that activation of trophoblasitc CSF1R by local high levels of CSF-1 is essential for normal embryonic implantation and placental development. More recently, it was discovered that CSF-1 and its receptor CSF1R are implicated in the mammary gland during normal development and neoplastic growth.
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