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Research Article

Erythropoietin messenger RNA levels in developing mice and transfer of 125I-erythropoietin by the placenta.

M J Koury, M C Bondurant, S E Graber and S T Sawyer

Division of Hematology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee 37232.

Published July 1988

Erythropoietin (EP) mRNA was measured in normal and anemic mice during fetal and postnatal development. Normal fetal livers at 14 d of gestation contained a low level of EP mRNA. By day 19 of gestation, no EP mRNA was detected in normal or anemic fetal livers or normal fetal kidneys, but anemic fetal kidneys had low levels of EP mRNA. Newborn through adult stage mice responded to anemia by accumulating renal and hepatic EP mRNA. However, total liver EP mRNA was considerably less than that of the kidneys. Juvenile animals, 1-4 wk old, were hyperresponsive to anemia in that they produced more EP mRNA than adults. Moreover, nonanemic juveniles had readily measured renal EP mRNA, whereas the adult level was at the lower limit of detection. Because of the very low level of fetal EP mRNA, placental transfer of EP was evaluated. When administered to the pregnant mouse, 125I-EP was transferred in significant amounts to the fetuses. These results indicate that in mice the kidney is the main organ of EP production at all stages of postnatal development and that adult kidney may also play some role in providing EP for fetal erythropoiesis via placental transfer of maternal hormone.

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