The role of the kidney tubules in the renal formation of erythropoietin is incompletely understood. Therefore, the capability to produce erythropoietin in response to hypoxia was studied in rats with tubular lesions. Nephron damage was induced in two different ways. First, rats were treated with the nephrotoxic aminoglycoside gentamicin (67.5 mg/kg and day) for 14 days. The animals were then subjected to simulated altitude (6,800 m) for 6 h. The resulting plasma erythropoietin concentration was significantly lower (0.5 IU/ml) than in saline treated control rats exposed to hypoxia (1.0 IU/ml). Second, unilateral hydronephrosis was induced by ureteral ligation. The contralateral kidney was removed immediately before the animals were exposed to siulated altitude for 6 h. The plasma erythropoietin concentration in the ureterligated rats did not increase above the value (0.3 IU/ml) in hypoxia exposed anephric rats. These results indicate that the production of erythropoietin is reduced following tubular injury. Tubule cells may diretly produce the hormone or interfere with the O2-sensing mechanisms controlling its synthesis. The latter hypothesis would seem to be supported by our failure to demonstrate in vitro erythropoietin production by the two established kidney tubule cell lines, LLC-PK1 and PK-15.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)