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Erythropoietin stimulates fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) in mice and men

  • Signaling and cell physiology
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Fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) is a major endocrine regulator of phosphate and 1,25 (OH)2 vitamin D3 metabolism and is mainly produced by osteocytes. Its production is upregulated by a variety of factors including 1,25 (OH)2 vitamin D3, high dietary phosphate intake, and parathyroid hormone (PTH). Recently, iron deficiency and hypoxia have been suggested as additional regulators of FGF23 and a role of erythropoietin (EPO) was shown. However, the regulation of FGF23 by EPO and the impact on phosphate and 1,25(OH)2 vitamin D3 are not completely understood. Here, we demonstrate that acute administration of recombinant human EPO (rhEPO) to healthy humans increases the C-terminal fragment of FGF23 (C-terminal FGF23) but not intact FGF23 (iFGF23). In mice, rhEPO stimulates acutely (24 h) C-terminal FGF23 but iFGF23 only after 4 days without effects on PTH and plasma phosphate. 1,25 (OH)2 D3 levels and αklotho expression in the kidney decrease after 4 days. rhEPO induced FGF23 mRNA in bone marrow but not in bone, with increased staining of FGF23 in CD71+ erythroid precursors in bone marrow. Chronic elevation of EPO in transgenic mice increases iFGF23. Finally, acute injections of recombinant FGF23 reduced renal EPO mRNA expression. Our data demonstrate stimulation of FGF23 levels in mice which impacts mostly on 1,25 (OH)2 vitamin D3 levels and metabolism. In humans, EPO is mostly associated with the C-terminal fragment of FGF23; in mice, EPO has a time-dependent effect on both FGF23 forms. EPO and FGF23 may form a feedback loop controlling and linking erythropoiesis and mineral metabolism.

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This study has been supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) through the National Center for Competence in Research NCCR Kidney.CH and the SNSF funded projects 31003A_176125 to C.A.W., 31003A_165679 to R.H.W., and 31003A_156481 to M.G.

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Correspondence to Carsten A. Wagner.

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Daryadel, A., Bettoni, C., Haider, T. et al. Erythropoietin stimulates fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) in mice and men. Pflugers Arch - Eur J Physiol 470, 1569–1582 (2018).

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