Erythropoietin (Epo), a glycoprotein hormone produced principally in the fetal kidney and in the adult liver in response to hypoxia, is the prime regulator of growth and differentiation in erythroid progenitor cells. The regulation of Epo gene expression is not fully understood, but two mechanisms have been proposed. One involves the participation of a heme protein capable of reversible oxygenation and the other depends on the intracellular concentration of reactive oxygen species (ROS), assumed to be a function of pO2. We have investigated the production of Epo in response to three stimuli, hypoxia, cobalt chloride, and the iron chelator desferrioxamine, in Hep3B cells. As expected, hypoxia caused a marked rise in Epo production. When the cells were exposed to the paired stimuli of hypoxia and cobalt no further increase was found. In contrast, chelation of iron under hypoxic conditions markedly enhanced Epo production, suggesting that the two stimuli act by separate pathways. The addition of carbon monoxide inhibited hypoxia-induced Epo production, independent of desferrioxamine concentration. Taken together these data support the concept that pO2 and ROS are sensed independently.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism