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We have used RNase protection to measure oxygen-dependent changes in erythropoietin (EPO) mRNA in isolated perfused kidneys and to compare the effect of hypoxia with the response to inhibitors of oxidative phosphorylation. In well-oxygenated kidneys perfused for 2 h at 12 ml/min, with hematocrit of 0.09 +/- 0.005 and PO2 of 443 +/- 67 mmHg, EPO mRNA levels were similar to the baseline levels measured in nonperfused contralateral kidneys from the same animals. When perfusions were performed under identical conditions but at a PO2 of 32 +/- 4 mmHg, EPO mRNA increased approximately 16-fold. In contrast, graded concentrations of cyanide (10, 100, and 300 microM and 1 mM), antimycin (0.01, 0.1, 0.5, and 1 microM), and oligomycin (0.01, 0.1, and 1 microM) did not alter EPO mRNA in well-oxygenated perfused kidneys. However, in kidneys perfused at low PO2 with a high concentration of each inhibitor, EPO mRNA levels were increased, demonstrating that the ability to respond to hypoxia was retained. Thus inhibitors of oxidative phosphorylation did not mimic the effects of hypoxia, indicating that oxygen-dependent expression of the EPO gene in the kidney is not effected through hypoxic compromise of oxidative phosphorylation.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Physiol

Publication Date





F982 - F987


Animals, Antimycin A, Erythropoietin, Gene Expression, Kidney, Male, Oligomycins, Oxygen, Potassium Cyanide, RNA, Messenger, Rats, Rats, Inbred Strains, Uncoupling Agents