In the present study, the erythropoietic activity of fetal serum was characterized. Using fetal bovine serum (FBS) as a source of the erythropoietic activity and serum-free cultures of fetal mouse livers (FMLC assay) as a detection system, we found that FBS stimulated colony formation from late erythroid progenitor cells (CFU-E) in a dose-dependent fashion. The slope of the dose-response curve, however, was significantly different from that for erythropoietin (Ep), the best-characterized erythropoietic activity so far. The erythropoietic activity of FBS was found in the 120-160- and 40-70-kD range at neutral pH. In the presence of 1 M acetic acid, however, the erythropoietic activity had an apparent molecular mass between 3 and 13 kD. From ion exchange experiments with DEAE-cellulose, the isoionic point of the activity was estimated to about pH 5. Furthermore, the erythropoietic activity of FBS was found to be co-eluted on Sephadex G-150 with the binding proteins of insulinlike growth factors (IGF). The IGF I concentration determined by radioimmunoassay was 70 ng IGF I/ml. The Ep activity of FBS was less than 5 mU/ml when determined with the posthypoxic polycythemic mouse assay for Ep. These results suggest that the erythropoietic activity of FBS is related to IGF and not to Ep. The erythropoietic activity of FBS was abolished by an antiserum against IGF I. Furthermore, IGF I was a factor of approximately 40 more potent than IGF II in stimulating erythroid colony formation. All of these findings suggest that the erythropoietic activity of FBS is IGF I.
A Kurtz, W Härtl, W Jelkmann, J Zapf, C Bauer