Promises and pitfalls in erythopoietin-mediated tissue protection: are nonerythropoietic derivatives a way forward?
ABSTRACT: The essential biological role of erythropoietin (EPO) in maintaining erythrocyte mass has been well understood for many years. Although EPO is required for the maturation of red cells, it also has strong procoagulant effects on the vascular endothelium and platelets, which limit erythrocyte losses after hemorrhage. Like other members of the type 1 cytokine superfamily, EPO has multiple biological activities. For the past 10 years, multiple investigators have shown that EPO acts as a locally produced antagonist of proinflammatory cytokines that are generated by the innate immune response in response to infection, trauma, or metabolic stress. Specifically, EPO inhibits apoptosis of cells surrounding a locus of injury, reduces the influx of inflammatory cells, and recruits tissue-specific stem cells and endothelial progenitor cells. Available evidence suggests that these multiple, nonerythropoietic effects of EPO are mediated by a tissue protective receptor (TPR) that is distinct from the homodimeric receptor responsible for erythropoiesis. Notably, activation of the TPR requires a higher concentration of EPO than is needed for maximal erythropoiesis. Unfortunately, these higher concentrations of EPO also stimulate hematopoietic and procoagulant pathways, which can cause adverse effects and, therefore, potentially limit the clinical use of EPO for tissue protection. To circumvent these problems, the EPO molecule has been successfully modified in a variety of ways to interact only with the TPR. Early clinical experience has shown that these compounds appear to be safe, and proof of concept trials are ready to begin.
Project description:Erythropoietin (EPO), a member of the type 1 cytokine superfamily, plays a critical hormonal role regulating erythrocyte production as well as a paracrine/autocrine role in which locally produced EPO protects a wide variety of tissues from diverse injuries. Significantly, these functions are mediated by distinct receptors: hematopoiesis via the EPO receptor homodimer and tissue protection via a heterocomplex composed of the EPO receptor and CD131, the beta common receptor. In the present work, we have delimited tissue-protective domains within EPO to short peptide sequences. We demonstrate that helix B (amino acid residues 58-82) of EPO, which faces the aqueous medium when EPO is bound to the receptor homodimer, is both neuroprotective in vitro and tissue protective in vivo in a variety of models, including ischemic stroke, diabetes-induced retinal edema, and peripheral nerve trauma. Remarkably, an 11-aa peptide composed of adjacent amino acids forming the aqueous face of helix B is also tissue protective, as confirmed by its therapeutic benefit in models of ischemic stroke and renal ischemia-reperfusion. Further, this peptide simulating the aqueous surface of helix B also exhibits EPO's trophic effects by accelerating wound healing and augmenting cognitive function in rodents. As anticipated, neither helix B nor the 11-aa peptide is erythropoietic in vitro or in vivo. Thus, the tissue-protective activities of EPO are mimicked by small, nonerythropoietic peptides that simulate a portion of EPO's three-dimensional structure.
Project description:Erythropoietin (EPO) is a tissue-protective cytokine preventing vascular spasm, apoptosis, and inflammatory responses. Although best known for its role in hematopoietic lineages, EPO also affects other tissues, including those of the nervous system. Enthusiasm for recombinant human erythropoietin (rhEPO) as a potential neuroprotective therapeutic must be tempered, however, by the knowledge it also enlarges circulating red cell mass and increases platelet aggregability. Here we examined whether erythropoietic and tissue-protective activities of rhEPO might be dissociated by a variation of the molecule. We demonstrate that asialoerythropoietin (asialoEPO), generated by total enzymatic desialylation of rhEPO, possesses a very short plasma half-life and is fully neuroprotective. In marked contrast with rhEPO, this molecule at doses and frequencies at which rhEPO exhibited erythropoiesis, did not increase the hematocrit of mice or rats. AsialoEPO appeared promptly within the cerebrospinal fluid after i.v. administration; intravenously administered radioiodine-labeled asialoEPO bound to neurons within the hippocampus and cortex in a pattern corresponding to the distribution of the EPO receptor. Most importantly, asialoEPO exhibits a broad spectrum of neuroprotective activities, as demonstrated in models of cerebral ischemia, spinal cord compression, and sciatic nerve crush. These data suggest that nonerythropoietic variants of rhEPO can cross the blood-brain barrier and provide neuroprotection.
Project description:The cytoprotective effects of erythropoietin (EPO) and an EPO-related nonerythropoietic analog, pyroglutamate helix B surface peptide (pHBSP), were investigated in an in vitro model of bovine aortic endothelial cell injury under normoxic (21% O2) and hypoxic (1% O2) conditions. The potential molecular mechanisms of these effects were also explored. Using a model of endothelial injury (the scratch assay), we found that, under hypoxic conditions, EPO and pHBSP enhanced scratch closure by promoting cell migration and proliferation, but did not show any effect under normoxic conditions. Furthermore, EPO protected bovine aortic endothelial cells from staurosporine-induced apoptosis under hypoxic conditions. The priming effect of hypoxia was associated with stabilization of hypoxia inducible factor-1?, EPO receptor upregulation, and decreased Ser-1177 phosphorylation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (NOS); the effect of hypoxia on the latter was rescued by EPO. Hypoxia was associated with a reduction in nitric oxide (NO) production as assessed by its oxidation products, nitrite and nitrate, consistent with the oxygen requirement for endogenous production of NO by endothelial NOS. However, while EPO did not affect NO formation in normoxia, it markedly increased NO production, in a manner sensitive to NOS inhibition, under hypoxic conditions. These data are consistent with the notion that the tissue-protective actions of EPO-related cytokines in pathophysiological settings associated with poor oxygenation are mediated by NO. These findings may be particularly relevant to atherogenesis and postangioplasty restenosis.
Project description:Erythropoietin (EPO), a type I cytokine originally identified for its critical role in hematopoiesis, has been shown to have nonhematopoietic, tissue-protective effects, including suppression of atherosclerosis. However, prothrombotic effects of EPO hinder its potential clinical use in nonanemic patients. In the present study, we investigated the antiatherosclerotic effects of helix B surface peptide (HBSP), a nonerythropoietic, tissue-protective compound derived from EPO, by using human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and human monocytic THP-1 cells in vitro and Watanabe heritable hyperlipidemic spontaneous myocardial infarction (WHHLMI) rabbits in vivo. In HUVECs, HBSP inhibited apoptosis (?70%) induced by C-reactive protein (CRP), a direct mediator of atherosclerosis. By using a small interfering RNA approach, Akt was shown to be a key molecule in HBSP-mediated prevention of apoptosis. HBSP also attenuated CRP-induced production of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-? and matrix metalloproteinase-9 in THP-1 cells. In the WHHLMI rabbit, HBSP significantly suppressed progression of coronary atherosclerotic lesions as assessed by mean cross-sectional stenosis (HBSP 21.3 ± 2.2% versus control peptide 38.0 ± 2.7%) and inhibited coronary artery endothelial cell apoptosis with increased activation of Akt. Furthermore, TNF-? expression and the number of M1 macrophages and M1/M2 macrophage ratio in coronary atherosclerotic lesions were markedly reduced in HBSP-treated animals. In conclusion, these data demonstrate that HBSP suppresses coronary atherosclerosis, in part by inhibiting endothelial cell apoptosis through activation of Akt and in association with decreased TNF-? production and modified macrophage polarization in coronary atherosclerotic lesions. Because HBSP does not have the prothrombotic effects of EPO, our study may provide a novel therapeutic strategy that prevents progression of coronary artery disease.
Project description:Erythropoietin (EPO), originally identified for its critical hormonal role in regulating production and survival of erythrocytes, is a member of the type 1 cytokine superfamily. Recent studies have shown that EPO has cytoprotective effects in a wide variety of tissues, including the heart, by preventing apoptosis. However, EPO also has undesirable effects, such as thrombogenesis. In the present study, we investigated whether a helix B-surface peptide (HBSP), a nonerythropoietic, tissue-protective peptide mimicking the 3D structure of erythropoietin, protects cardiomyocytes from apoptosis in vitro and in vivo. In cultured neonatal rat cardiomyocytes, HBSP clearly inhibited apoptosis (approximately 80%) induced by TNF-alpha, which was comparable with the effect of EPO, and activated critical signaling pathways of cell survival, including Akt, ERK1/2, and STAT3. Among these pathways, Akt was shown to play an essential role in HBSP-induced prevention of apoptosis, as assessed by using a small interfering RNA approach. In the dilated cardiomyopathic hamster (J2N-k), whose cardiac tissues diffusely expressed TNF-alpha, HBSP also inhibited apoptosis (approximately 70%) and activated Akt in cardiomyocytes. Furthermore, the levels of serum creatine kinase activity and of cardiac expression of atrial natriuretic peptide, a marker of chronic heart failure, were down-regulated in animals treated with HBSP. These data demonstrate that HBSP protects cardiomyocytes from apoptosis and leads to a favorable outcome in failing hearts through an Akt-dependent pathway. Because HBSP does not have the undesirable effects of EPO, it could be a promising alternative for EPO to treat cardiovascular diseases, such as myocardial infarction and heart failure.
Project description:The cytokine erythropoietin (EPO) stimulates proliferation and differentiation of erythroid progenitor cells. Moreover, EPO has neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidative effects, but the use of EPO as a neuroprotective agent is hampered by its erythropoietic activity. We have recently designed the synthetic, dendrimeric peptide, Epobis, derived from the sequence of human EPO. This peptide binds the EPO receptor and promotes neuritogenesis and neuronal cell survival. Here we demonstrate that Epobis in vitro promotes neuritogenesis in primary motoneurons and has anti-inflammatory effects as demonstrated by its ability to decrease TNF release from activated AMJ2-C8 macrophages and rat primary microglia. When administered systemically Epobis is detectable in both plasma and cerebrospinal fluid, demonstrating that the peptide crosses the blood-brain barrier. Importantly, Epobis is not erythropoietic, but systemic administration of Epobis in rats delays the clinical signs of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, an animal model of multiple sclerosis, and the peptide has long-term, but not short-term, effects on working memory, detected as an improved social memory 3 days after administration. These data reveal Epobis to be a nonerythropoietic and neuroprotective EPO receptor agonist with anti-inflammatory and memory enhancing properties.
Project description:The cytokine erythropoietin (EPO) protects the heart from ischemic injury, in part by preventing apoptosis. However, EPO administration can also raise the hemoglobin concentration, which, by increasing oxygen delivery, confounds assignment of cause and effect. The availability of EPO analogs that do not bind to the dimeric EPO receptor and lack erythropoietic activity, e.g., carbamylated EPO (CEPO), provides an opportunity to determine whether EPO possesses direct cardioprotective activity. In vivo, cardiomyocyte loss after experimental myocardial infarction (MI) of rats (40 min of occlusion with reperfusion) was reduced from approximately 57% in MI-control to approximately 45% in animals that were administered CEPO daily for 1 week (50 microg/kg of body weight s.c.) with the first dose administered intravenously 5 min before reperfusion. CEPO did not increase the hematocrit, yet it prevented increases in left ventricular (LV) end-diastolic pressure, reduced LV wall stress in systole and diastole, and improved LV response to dobutamine infusion compared with vehicle-treated animals. In agreement with the cardioprotective effect observed in vivo, staurosporine-induced apoptosis of adult rat or mouse cardiomyocytes in vitro was also significantly attenuated ( approximately 35%) by CEPO, which is comparable with the effect of EPO. These data indicate that prevention of cardiomyocyte apoptosis, in the absence of an increase in hemoglobin concentration, explains EPO's cardioprotection. Nonerythropoietic derivatives such as CEPO, devoid of the undesirable effects of EPO, e.g., thrombogenesis, could represent safer and more effective alternatives for treatment of cardiovascular diseases, such as MI and heart failure. Furthermore, these findings expand the activity spectrum of CEPO to tissues outside the nervous system.
Project description:Aplastic anemia (AA) is characterized as hypoplasia of bone marrow hematopoietic cells and hematopenia of peripheral blood cells. Though the supplement of exogenous erythropoietin (EPO) has been clinically approved for AA treatment, the side-effects hinder its further application. Here a robust treatment for AA induced by chemotherapy drugs is explored using gadofullerene nanoparticles (GFNPs). Methods: The gadofullerene were modified with hydrogen peroxide under alkaline conditions to become the water-soluble nanoparticles (GFNPs). The physicochemical properties, in vitro chemical construction, stability, hydroxyl radical scavenging ability, in vitro cytotoxicity, antioxidant activity, in vivo treatment efficacy, therapeutic mechanism and biological distribution, metabolism, toxicity of GFNPs were examined. Results: GFNPs with great stability and high-efficiency antioxidant activity could observably increase the number of red blood cells (RBC) in the peripheral blood of AA mice and relieve the abnormal pathological state of bone marrow. The erythropoiesis mainly includes hemopoietic stem cells (HSCs) differentiation, erythrocyte development in bone marrow and erythrocyte maturation in peripheral blood. The positive control-EPO promotes erythropoiesis by regulating HSCs differentiation and erythrocyte development in bone marrow. Different from the anti-AA mechanism of EPO, GFNPs have little impact on both the differentiation of HSCs and the myeloid erythrocyte development, but notably improve the erythrocyte maturation. Besides, GFNPs can notably decrease the excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS) and inhibit apoptosis of hemocytes in blood. In addition, GFNPs are mostly excreted from the living body and cause no serious toxicity. Conclusion: Our work provides an insight into the advanced nanoparticles to powerfully treat AA through ameliorating the erythrocyte maturation during erythropoiesis.
Project description:Erythropoietin (EPO) has been identified as being crucial for obesity modulation; however, its erythropoietic activity may limit its clinical application. EPO-derived Helix B-surface peptide (pHBSP) is nonerythrogenic but has been reported to retain other functions of EPO. The current study aimed to evaluate the effects and potential mechanisms of pHBSP in obesity modulation. We found that pHBSP suppressed adipogenesis, adipokine expression and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor ? (PPAR?) levels during 3T3-L1 preadipocyte maturation through the EPO receptor (EPOR). In addition, also through EPOR, pHBSP attenuated macrophage inflammatory activation and promoted PPAR? expression. Furthermore, PPAR? deficiency partly ablated the anti-inflammatory activity of pHBSP in macrophages. Correspondingly, pHBSP administration to high-fat diet (HFD)-fed mice significantly improved obesity, insulin resistance (IR) and adipose tissue inflammation without stimulating hematopoiesis. Therefore, pHBSP can significantly protect against obesity and IR partly by inhibiting adipogenesis and inflammation. These findings have therapeutic implications for metabolic disorders, such as obesity and diabetes.
Project description:The hormone erythropoietin (EPO), which is synthesized in the kidney or liver of adult mammals, controls erythrocyte production and is regulated by the stress-responsive transcription factor hypoxia-inducible factor-2 (HIF-2). We previously reported that the lysine acetyltransferase CREB-binding protein (CBP) is required for HIF-2? acetylation and efficient HIF-2-dependent EPO induction during hypoxia. We now show that these processes require acetate-dependent acetyl CoA synthetase 2 (ACSS2). In human Hep3B hepatoma cells and in EPO-generating organs of hypoxic or acutely anemic mice, acetate levels rise and ACSS2 is required for HIF-2? acetylation, CBP-HIF-2? complex formation, CBP-HIF-2? recruitment to the EPO enhancer and efficient induction of EPO gene expression. In acutely anemic mice, acetate supplementation augments stress erythropoiesis in an ACSS2-dependent manner. Moreover, in acquired and inherited chronic anemia mouse models, acetate supplementation increases EPO expression and the resting hematocrit. Thus, a mammalian stress-responsive acetate switch controls HIF-2 signaling and EPO induction during pathophysiological states marked by tissue hypoxia.