Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS One. 2010 Feb 16;5(2):e9246. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009246.

Soluble erythropoietin receptor contributes to erythropoietin resistance in end-stage renal disease.

Author information

Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.



Erythropoietin is a growth factor commonly used to manage anemia in patients with chronic kidney disease. A significant clinical challenge is relative resistance to erythropoietin, which leads to use of successively higher erythropoietin doses, failure to achieve target hemoglobin levels, and increased risk of adverse outcomes. Erythropoietin acts through the erythropoietin receptor (EpoR) present in erythroblasts. Alternative mRNA splicing produces a soluble form of EpoR (sEpoR) found in human blood, however its role in anemia is not known.


Using archived serum samples obtained from subjects with end stage kidney disease we show that sEpoR is detectable as a 27kDa protein in the serum of dialysis patients, and that higher serum sEpoR levels correlate with increased erythropoietin requirements. Soluble EpoR inhibits erythropoietin mediated signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 (Stat5) phosphorylation in cell lines expressing EpoR. Importantly, we demonstrate that serum from patients with elevated sEpoR levels blocks this phosphorylation in ex vivo studies. Finally, we show that sEpoR is increased in the supernatant of a human erythroleukaemia cell line when stimulated by inflammatory mediators such as interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha implying a link between inflammation and erythropoietin resistance.


These observations suggest that sEpoR levels may contribute to erythropoietin resistance in end stage renal disease, and that sEpoR production may be mediated by pro-inflammatory cytokines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center