Erythropoietin enhances immunostimulatory properties of immature dendritic cells

F. Rocchetta, S. Solini, M. Mister, C. Mele, P. Cassis, M. Noris, G. Remuzzi, S. Aiello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dendritic cells (DCs) are the most potent antigen-presenting cells and play a crucial role by modulating the T cell immune response against infective agents, tumour antigens and alloantigens. The current study shows that differentiating bone marrow (BM)-derived DCs but not fully differentiated DCs are targets of erythropoietin (EPO). Indeed, DCs emerging from rat bone marrow, but not splenic DCs, express the EPO receptor (Epo-R) and respond to EPO stimulation displaying a more activated phenotype with increased CD86, CD40 and interleukin (IL)-12 expression levels and a higher allostimulatory capacity on T cells than untreated DCs. Moreover, results here presented show that EPO up-regulates Toll-like receptor (TLR)-4 in differentiating DCs rendering these cells more sensitive to stimulation by the TLR-4 ligand lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Indeed, DCs treated with EPO and then stimulated by LPS were strongly allostimulatory and expressed CCR7, CD86, CD40, IL-12 and IL-23 at higher levels than those observed in DCs stimulated with LPS alone. It is tempting to speculate that EPO could act as an additional danger signal in concert with TLR-4 engagement. Thus, EPO, beyond its erythropoietic and cytoprotective effects, turns out to be an immune modulator.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-210
Number of pages9
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


  • Dendritic cell
  • Erythropoietin
  • TLR-4

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


Dive into the research topics of 'Erythropoietin enhances immunostimulatory properties of immature dendritic cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this