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Blood. 2010 Dec 9;116(24):5334-46. doi: 10.1182/blood-2009-12-258947. Epub 2010 Sep 1.

During EPO or anemia challenge, erythroid progenitor cells transit through a selectively expandable proerythroblast pool.

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  • 1COBRE Center of Excellence in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Maine Medical Center Research Institute, Scarborough, ME, USA.


Investigations of bone marrow (BM) erythroblast development are important for clinical concerns but are hindered by progenitor cell and tissue availability. We therefore sought to more specifically define dynamics, and key regulators, of the formation of developing BM erythroid cell cohorts. A unique Kit(-)CD71(high)Ter119(-) "stage E2" proerythroblast pool first is described, which (unlike its Kit(+) "stage E1" progenitors, or maturing Ter119(+) "stage E3" progeny) proved to selectively expand ∼ 7-fold on erythropoietin challenge. During short-term BM transplantation, stage E2 proerythroblasts additionally proved to be a predominantly expanded progenitor pool within spleen. This E1→E2→E3 erythroid series reproducibly formed ex vivo, enabling further characterizations. Expansion, in part, involved E1 cell hyperproliferation together with rapid E2 conversion plus E2 stage restricted BCL2 expression. Possible erythropoietin/erythropoietin receptor proerythroblast stage specific events were further investigated in mice expressing minimal erythropoietin receptor alleles. For a hypomorphic erythropoietin receptor-HM allele, major defects in erythroblast development occurred selectively at stage E2. In addition, stage E2 cells proved to interact productively with primary BM stromal cells in ways that enhanced both survival and late-stage development. Overall, findings reveal a novel transitional proerythroblast compartment that deploys unique expansion devices.

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