ABSTRACT: Oxygen is essential for the survival of animals. Red blood cells in the circulation, i.e. peripheral erythrocytes, are responsible for transporting oxygen to tissues. The regulation of erythropoiesis in vertebrates other than mammals is yet to be elucidated. Recently we identified erythropoietin, a primary regulator of erythropoiesis, in Xenopus laevis, which should enable us to identify target cells, including erythroid progenitors, and to investigate the production and development of erythroid cells in amphibians. Here, we established a semi-solid colony-forming assay in Xenopus laevis to clarify the existence of colony-forming unit-erythroid cells, the functional erythroid progenitors identified in vitro. Using this assay, we showed that recombinant xlEPO induces erythroid colony formation in vitro and detected an increased level of erythropoietin activity in blood serum during acute anemic stress. In addition, our study demonstrated the possible presence of multiple, non-xlEPO, factors in anemic serum supportive of erythroid colony formation. These results indicate that erythropoiesis mediated by erythropoietin is present in amphibian species and, furthermore, that the regulatory mechanisms controlling peripheral erythrocyte number may vary among vertebrates.
Journal of Experimental Biology 03/2011; 214(Pt 6):921-7. · 3.00 Impact Factor