[en] Macrophages (monocytes/microglia) could play a critical role in central nervous system repair. We have previously found a synchronism between the regression of spontaneous axonal regeneration and the deactivation of macrophages 3-4 wk after a compression-injury of rat spinal cord. To explore whether reactivation of endogenous macrophages might be beneficial for spinal cord repair, we have studied the effects of granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) in the same paraplegia model and in cell cultures. There was a significant, though transient, improvement of locomotor recovery after a single delayed intraperitoneal injection of 2 mu g GM-CSF, which also increased significantly the expression of Cr3 and brain-derived neurotrophic factor ( BDNF) by macrophages at the lesion site. At longer survival delays, axonal regeneration was significantly enhanced in GMCSF-treated rats. In vitro, BV2 microglial cells expressed higher levels of BDNF in the presence of GM-CSF and neurons cocultured with microglial cells activated by GM-CSF generated more neurites, an effect blocked by a BDNF antibody. These experiments suggest that GM-CSF could be an interesting treatment option for spinal cord injury and that its beneficial effects might be mediated by BDNF.-Bouhy, D., Malgrange, B., Multon, S., Poirrier, A. L., Scholtes, F., Schoenen, J., Franzen, R. Delayed GM-CSF treatment stimulates axonal regeneration and functional recovery in paraplegic rats via an increased BDNF expression by endogenous macrophages.