PROLONGED ERYTHROPOIETIN TREATMENT DOES NOT IMPACT GENE EXPRESSION IN HUMAN SKELETAL MUSCLE

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Abstract

Introduction:

We tested for the presence of erythropoietin receptor (Epo-R) in human skeletal muscle and alterations in gene expression after prolonged use of an erythropoiesis-stimulating agent (ESA).

Methods:

Nine healthy men were treated with ESA for 10 weeks (darbepoietin alfa). Muscle biopsies were collected before and after treatment. Alterations in gene expression were evaluated by gene array. Western blot and PCR analysis were used to test for Epo-R presence in human skeletal muscle.

Results:

Very low Epo-R mRNA levels were found, but a new and sensitive antibody did not identify Epo-R protein in human skeletal muscle. The between-subject variation in skeletal muscle gene expression was greater than that observed in response to prolonged ESA treatment.

Conclusions:

Erythropoietin is unlikely to exert direct effects in human skeletal muscle due to a lack of Epo-R protein. Furthermore, prolonged ESA treatment does not seem to exert either direct or indirect effects on skeletal muscle gene expression. Muscle Nerve 51: 554–561, 2015

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