The volatile anesthetic isoflurane differentially suppresses the induction of erythropoietin synthesis elicited by acute anemia and systemic hypoxemia in mice in an hypoxia-inducible factor-2-dependent manner

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Erythropoietin (EPO) is a glycoprotein hormone essential for the regulation of erythroid homeostasis. Although EPO production is prominent in the kidney and liver, its production in the central nervous system has also been detected. Tissue hypoxia due to systemic or local hypoxemia and acute anemia due to blood loss occurs frequently during various clinical settings, leading to a high possibility of elevated plasma EPO levels. However, it is largely unknown whether volatile anesthetic agents affect EPO production elicited by acute hypoxia in vivo. Male C57BL/6N CrSlc mice were exposed to a hypoxic insult as a result of bleeding-related anemia or hypoxemia while they were under anesthetized using various concentrations of isoflurane. EPO protein concentrations were assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and mRNA levels were measured by quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Plasma EPO concentration was induced as early as 3 h following acute anemic and hypoxemic hypoxia and suppressed by clinically relevant doses of isoflurane in a dose-dependent manner. Anemic hypoxia induced EPO mRNA and protein synthesis in the kidney. In the kidney, isoflurane inhibited EPO induction caused by anemia but not that caused by hypoxemia. On the other hand, in the brain hypoxemia-induced EPO production was suppressed by isoflurane. Finally, qRT-PCR studies demonstrate that isoflurane differentially inhibit HIF-1α and HIF-2α mRNA expression in brain and kidney, indicating the involvement of HIF-2 in the hypoxia-induced EPO expression and inhibition of the induction by isoflurane.

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