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Stem Cells Transl Med. 2013 Feb;2(2):112-7. doi: 10.5966/sctm.2012-0046. Epub 2013 Jan 22.

Elevated nuclear factor erythroid-2 levels promote epo-independent erythroid maturation and recapitulate the hematopoietic stem cell and common myeloid progenitor expansion observed in polycythemia vera patients.

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Department of Hematology/Oncology, University Hospital Freiburg, Center for Clinical Research, Freiburg, Germany.


The molecular etiology of polycythemia vera (PV) remains incompletely understood. Patients harbor increased numbers of hematopoietic stem cells and display Epo-independent erythroid maturation. However, the molecular mechanism underlying Epo hypersensitivity and stem cell expansion is unclear. We have previously shown that the transcription factor nuclear factor erythroid-2 (NF-E2) is overexpressed in the majority of PV patients. Here we demonstrated that elevation of NF-E2 expression in healthy CD34(+) cells to levels observed in PV caused Epo-independent erythroid maturation and expansion of hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) and common myeloid progenitor (CMP) cell numbers. Silencing NF-E2 in PV patients reverted both aberrancies, demonstrating for the first time that NF-E2 overexpression is both required and sufficient for Epo independence and HSC/CMP expansion in PV.

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