Erythropoietin production by the fetal liver in an adult environment.
To gain insight into the mammalian liver to kidney erythropoietin (Ep) switch, we heterotopically transplanted livers from preswitch, switched, and postswitch fetal and newborn lambs into normal adult sheep. Recipients' serum Ep and circulating reticulocyte levels were serially determined until rejection of the graft and compared with identical samples from sham-operated control adult ewes. Transplantation of preswitch and switched fetal livers caused an impressive rise in recipients' serum Ep activity and provoked a corresponding increase in reticulocytosis. In contrast, Ep activity and reticulocyte counts did not change from preoperative levels in adult ewes transplanted with postswitch livers or in the sham-operated controls. The production of Ep by the preswitch fetal liver in the adult environment was not dependent on the presence or absence of host kidneys and was stimulated by anemic hypoxia. These results suggest that the fetal liver is capable of producing relatively large amounts of Ep activity, and the production of Ep can be maintained in the adult environment in the presence of functional adult kidneys. This argues against suppression of liver Ep production by renal Ep, or some other factor in the postnatal environment, and suggests that the liver to kidney switch of Ep production during ontogeny may represent a genetically determined event.
Flake, AW; Harrison, MR; Adzick, NS; Zanjani, ED
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