Neurons and astrocytes express EPO mRNA: Oxygen-sensing mechanisms that involve the redox-state of the brain

Myriam Bernaudin, Anita Bellail, Hugo H. Marti, Alexandra Yvon, Denis Vivien, Isabelle Duchatelle, Eric T. Mackenzie, Edwige Petit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

248 Scopus citations


Erythropoietin (Epo), the major hormone controling the hypoxia-induced increase in the number of erythrocytes, has also a functional role in the brain. However, few data exist as to the cellular source of brain-derived Epo as well as to the molecular mechanisms that control Epo expression in the central nervous system. Using patch-clamp and RT-PCR methods, we provide direct evidence that, besides astrocytes, neurons are a source of Epo in the brain. Both the astrocytic and neuronal expression of Epo mRNA are induced not only by hypoxia, but also by desferrioxamine (DFX) and cobalt chloride (CoCl2), two agents known to mimic the hypoxic induction of Epo in hepatoma cells. This induction is blocked by cycloheximide suggesting that de novo protein synthesis is required. Furthermore, the addition of H2O2 decreases the hypoxia-induced Epo mRNA levels. These data indicate that, following hypoxia, a common oxygen sensing and signaling pathway leads to increased Epo gene expression in both nervous and hepatoma cells; this pathway would be dependent on the redox-state of the brain. Furthermore, we show that the in vivo administration of CoCl2 and DFX to mice induces an increased Epo mRNA level in the neocortex. As Epo protects the brain against ischemia, our in vivo experiments suggest that the use of molecules such as CoCl2 or DFX, that provoke an increased Epo gene expression in the brain, could be useful in the development of potential therapeutic strategies for the treatment of hypoxic or ischemic brain injury. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-278
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 25 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Astrocyte
  • Cobalt chloride
  • Desferrioxamine
  • Erythropoietin
  • Hypoxia
  • Mouse
  • Neuron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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