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Haematologica. 1995 Nov-Dec;80(6):491-4.

Depression of stimulated erythropoietin production in mice with enhanced erythropoiesis.

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  • 1Cátedra de Fisiología, Facultad de Odontologia, Universidad de Buenos Aires, República Argentina.



The reports of lower plasma erythropoietin (EPO) in anemic patients with active erythropoiesis (hyperplastic) than in comparably anemic subjects with erythroid hypoplasia have generally been interpreted as the result of EPO utilization by the target cells of the hormone. An alternative explanation could be that there is a feedback mechanism through which EPO formation by EPO-producing cells is modulated by the erythroid activity of the erythropoietic organs. The present study was thus designed to investigate EPO production during acute hypoxemia in a mouse model in which the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood, the plasma EPO level, the blood viscosity and the plasma EPO half-life are within normal values in spite of an intense stimulation of erythropoiesis.


Adult female mice of the CF1 strain with either normal or increased rates of erythropoiesis were used in this study. Erythropoiesis was stimulated by two injections of 10 units of rhEPO given 24 h apart. All experimental determinations were performed 24 h after the second EPO injection. Erythropoiesis was measured by the percent of a tracer dose of 59Fe incorporated into the spleen. Hypobaric hypoxemia was induced by exposing mice to atmospheric air maintained at 50% atmospheric pressure for 6 h. Plasma EPO concentration was determined by RIA. Plasma disappearance of radiolabeled rhEPO was determined by i.v. injection of the hormone and sampling by cardiac puncture every hour for 6 h.


Administration of rhEPO to mice increased splenic 59Fe uptake significantly without affecting the hematocrit, the plasma EPO level or the plasma disappearance of radiolabeled EPO. Plasma EPO titer after 6 h of exposure to hypobaric air was about 70% lower in mice with EPO-induced stimulation of erythropoiesis than in mice with normal erythropoiesis.


The results of this study suggest that there is an inverse relationship between the rate of stimulated EPO production and erythropoietic marrow activity. They also suggest that the variations in plasma EPO levels during periods of rapidly increasing erythropoiesis are the reflection of a decrease in the rate of production rather than an increase in the rate of utilization by a proliferating pool of erythroid cells.

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