Abstract: In endothelial cells, erythropoietin receptors (EPORs) mediate the protective, proliferative and angiogenic effects of EPO and its analogues, which act as EPOR agonists. Because hormonal receptors undergo functional changes upon chronic exposure to agonists and because erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) are used for the long-term treatment of anemia, it is critical to determine the mechanism by which EPOR responsiveness is regulated at the vascular level after prolonged exposure to ESAs. Here, we investigated EPOR desensitization/resensitization in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) upon exposure to three ESAs with different pharmacokinetic profiles, epoetin alpha (EPOα), darbepoetin alpha (DarbEPO) and continuous EPOR activator (CERA). These agonists all induced activation of the transcription factor STAT-5, which is a component of the intracellular pathway associated with EPORs. STAT-5 activation occurred with either monophasic or biphasic kinetics for EPOα/DarbEPO and CERA, respectively. ESAs, likely through activation of the STAT-5 pathway, induced endothelial cell proliferation and stimulated angiogenesis in vitro, demonstrating a functional role for epoetins on endothelial cells. All epoetins induced EPOR desensitization with more rapid kinetics for CERA compared to EPOα and DarbEPO. However, the recovery of receptor responsiveness was strictly dependent on the type of epoetin, the agonist concentration and the time of exposure to the agonist. EPOR resensitization occurred with more rapid kinetics after exposure to low epoetin concentrations for a short period of desensitization. When the highest concentration of agonists was tested, the recovery of receptor responsiveness was more rapid with CERA compared to EPOα and was completely absent with DarbEPO. Our results demonstrate that these three ESAs regulate EPOR resensitization by very different mechanisms and that both the type of molecule and the length of EPOR stimulation are factors that are critical for the control of EPOR functioning in endothelial cells. The differences observed in receptor resensitization after stimulation with the structurally different ESAs are most likely due different control mechanisms of receptor turnover at the intracellular level.
Keywords: endothelial cells; erythropoietin receptor; erythropoiesis-stimulating agents; STAT-5 pathway; receptor desensitization; signal resensitization; cell proliferation; angiogenesis
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Trincavelli, M.L.; Da Pozzo, E.; Ciampi, O.; Cuboni, S.; Daniele, S.; Abbracchio, M.P.; Martini, C. Regulation of Erythropoietin Receptor Activity in Endothelial Cells by Different Erythropoietin (EPO) Derivatives: An in Vitro Study. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14, 2258-2281.
Trincavelli ML, Da Pozzo E, Ciampi O, Cuboni S, Daniele S, Abbracchio MP, Martini C. Regulation of Erythropoietin Receptor Activity in Endothelial Cells by Different Erythropoietin (EPO) Derivatives: An in Vitro Study. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2013; 14(2):2258-2281.
Trincavelli, Maria L.; Da Pozzo, Eleonora; Ciampi, Osele; Cuboni, Serena; Daniele, Simona; Abbracchio, Maria P.; Martini, Claudia. 2013. "Regulation of Erythropoietin Receptor Activity in Endothelial Cells by Different Erythropoietin (EPO) Derivatives: An in Vitro Study." Int. J. Mol. Sci. 14, no. 2: 2258-2281.