Molecular Medicine

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 709–716 | Cite as

Low Oxygen Tension Primes Aortic Endothelial Cells to the Reparative Effect of Tissue-Protective Cytokines

  • Lamia Heikal
  • Pietro Ghezzi
  • Manuela Mengozzi
  • Gordon Ferns
Research Article


Erythropoietin (EPO) has both erythropoietic and tissue-protective properties. The EPO analogues carbamylated EPO (CEPO) and pyroglutamate helix B surface peptide (pHBSP) lack the erythropoietic activity of EPO but retain the tissue-protective properties that are mediated by a heterocomplex of EPO receptor (EPOR) and the β common receptor (βCR). We studied the action of EPO and its analogues in a model of wound healing where a bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAECs) monolayer was scratched and the scratch closure was assessed over 24 h under different oxygen concentrations. We related the effects of EPO and its analogues on repair to their effect on BAECs proliferation and migration (evaluated using a micro-Boyden chamber). EPO, CEPO and pHBSP enhanced scratch closure only at lower oxygen (5%), while their effect at atmospheric oxygen (21%) was not significant. The mRNA expression of EPOR was doubled in 5% compared with 21% oxygen, and this was associated with increased EPOR assessed by immunofluorescence and Western blot. By contrast, βCR mRNA levels were similar in 5% and 21% oxygen. EPO and its analogues increased both BAECs proliferation and migration, suggesting that both may be involved in the reparative process. The priming effect of low oxygen tension on the action of tissue-protective cytokines may be of relevance to vascular disease, including atherogenesis and restenosis.



Supported by European Regional Development Fund, Project “Peptide Research Network of Excellence,” to P Ghezzi.

Supplementary material

10020_2015_2101709_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.3 mb)
Supplementary material, approximately 1.32 MB.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Lamia Heikal
    • 1
  • Pietro Ghezzi
    • 1
  • Manuela Mengozzi
    • 1
  • Gordon Ferns
    • 1
  1. 1.Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Division of Medical EducationMayfield HouseFalmerUK

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