Erythropoietin (Epo) supports both primitive erythropoiesis in the yolk sac and definitive erythropoiesis in the fetal liver and bone marrow. Although definitive erythropoiesis requires kidney- and liver-secreted Epo, it is unclear which cells produce Epo for primitive erythropoiesis. Here we find neural Epo-producing (NEP) cells in mid-gestational stage embryos using mouse lines that express green fluorescent protein (GFP) under the Epo gene regulation. In these mice, GFP is expressed exclusively in a subpopulation of neural and neural crest cells at embryonic day 9.0 when Epo-deficient embryos exhibit abnormalities in primitive erythropoiesis. The GFP-positive NEP cells express Epo mRNA and the ex vivo culture of embryonic day 8.5 neural tubes results in the secretion of Epo, which is able to induce the proliferation and differentiation of yolk sac-derived erythroid cells. These results thus suggest that NEP cells secrete Epo and might support the development of primitive erythropoiesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)