Erythropoietin Control of Programmed Death in Erythroid Progenitors

  • Maurice C. Bondurant
  • Mark J. Koury
  • Linda L. Kelley
Conference paper
Part of the Serono Symposia, USA book series (SERONOSYMP)


Erythropoietin (EPO) is the glycoprotein hormone that controls the production of erythrocytes in mammals. If one administers EPO to an animal, shortly thereafter, new erythrocytes (RBCs) appear in the circulation. The manner by which new RBCs are formed has been surmised by in vitro culture of bone marrow or spleen cells in semisolid medium in the presence of EPO. In such cultures, colonies of erythroblasts arise from committed erythroid progenitor cells that divide and mature simultaneously. The committed erythroid progenitor cells constitute continuous stages of differentiation that have been defined by the time in vitro required for them to form colonies of mature erythroblasts and by the number of cells in the colonies (1). Burst-forming units-erythroid (BFU-E) are the most immature committed erythroid progenitor cells; they give rise to colonies of thousands of mature erythroblasts in 7 days for murine BFU-E and 14 days for human BFU-E. How the BFU-E arise by “commitment” to erythroid differentiation of pluripotent hematopoietic cells is not understood. Colony-forming units-erythroid (CFU-E) are intermediate in their level of differentiation, giving rise to colonies of 8–32 erythroblasts after 2 days of culture for murine CFU-E and 7 days for human CFU-E. The immediate descendants of CFU-E are the proerythroblasts that are the earliest morphologically recognizable, committed erythroid cells and are capable of very limited proliferation.


Polycythemia Vera Erythroid Cell Erythroid Progenitor Erythroid Differentiation Erythroid Progenitor Cell 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maurice C. Bondurant
  • Mark J. Koury
  • Linda L. Kelley

There are no affiliations available

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