EPO enhancer identified
Leuven/Geneva – Belgian and Swiss researchers have discovered a protein factor that could improve the response rate to anemia blockbuster erythropoietin (EPO). In mice, they found that the protein product of growth arrest-specific gene 6 (Gas6) was released in response to Epo, and that Gas6 enhanced Epo receptor signaling by activating the serine-threonine kinase Akt in murine erythroblasts. In the absence of Gas6, erythroid progenitors and erythroblasts were hyporesponsive to the survival activity of Epo, and failed to restore hematocrit levels in response to anemia. In a transgenic mouse model of chronic anemia caused by insufficient Epo production, Gas6 synergised with Epo in restoring hematocrit levels. Drugs that promote Gas 6 expression might therefore be a means to treat sensitive non responders to Epo.