HIV-1 suppresses erythropoietin production in vitro

Z. Wang, M. A. Goldberg, D. T. Scadden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Serum erythropoietin (Epo) levels are depressed in anemic AIDS patients relative to controls. The basis for abnormal regulation of Epo has not been defined. The hepatoma cell line Hep3B produces Epo in response to hypoxia and serves as a model for the study of Epo regulation. Hep3B cells are infectible with human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) and were used as a model for evaluating potential direct effects of HIV on Epo expression. HIV-1 infected or transfected Hep3B cells produced Epo at significantly lower levels than uninfected Hep3B cells under low O2 conditions or following exposure to cobalt chloride. Epo production induced by hypoxia of HIV-1 infected Hep3B cells was depressed compared with non-HIV containing Hep3B cells when normalized for cell number, total cellular protein or albumin, but not depressed when normalized for alpha-fetoprotein production. The cellular levels of Epo mRNA were not diminished in the HIV-1+ Hep3B cells, indicating a probable posttranscriptional effect of HIV-1 on Epo production. Cellular protein production or secretion rates as measured by precipitable 3H-leucine were not affected by the presence of HIV-1. HIV-1 appeared to depress the production of Epo and some, but not all, other cellular proteins. These results suggest that impaired production of Epo may be a direct effect of HIV-1 infection possibly contributing to anemia in AIDS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)683-688
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental Hematology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • AIDS
  • Anemia cytokines
  • Erythropoietin
  • Human immunodeficiency virus-1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Hematology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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