First published August 1, 1987 - More info
The mechanism of action of erythropoietin is thought to require specific interaction with the target cell surface and involve alteration of cellular calcium metabolism. Using the rabbit reticulocyte membrane as a model of the immature red cell membrane, we investigated the effects of human recombinant erythropoietin on membrane Ca2+-ATPase (calcium pump) activity in vitro. Erythropoietin in a concentration range of 0.025 to 3.0 U/ml progressively decreased membrane Ca2+-ATPase activity by up to 64% (P less than 0.01). These concentrations have been shown by others to stimulate in vitro erythroid growth. The action of erythropoietin on reticulocyte Ca2+-ATPase required an incubation time of 1 h before enzyme assay for maximum effect and was neutralized by antierythropoietin antiserum. Other nonhemopoietic growth factors (epidermal growth factor, insulin) had no effect in this assay. Ca2+-ATPase activity of membranes prepared from rabbit mature red blood cells was not inhibited by erythropoietin. The novel effect of erythropoietin on reticulocyte membrane Ca2+-ATPase activity is a mechanism by which erythropoietin can influence cellular Ca2+ metabolism.