gms | German Medical Science

27. Wissenschaftlicher Kongress der Deutschen Hochdruckliga

Deutsche Liga zur Bekämpfung des hohen Blutdrucks – Deutsche Hypertonie Gesellschaft e. V.

26. bis 29.11.2003, Bonn

Erythropoietin Regulates Endothelial Progenitor Cells

Erythropoietin reguliert Endotheliale Vorläuferzellen

Meeting Abstract (Hypertonie 2003)

  • presenting/speaker F.H. Bahlmann - Medizinische Hochschule Hannover (Hannover, D)
  • K. de Groot - Medizinische Hochschule Hannover (Hannover, D)
  • B. Hertel - Medizinische Hochschule Hannover (Hannover, D)
  • T. Duckert - Medizinische Hochschule Hannover (Hannover, D)
  • S.M. Boehm - Medizinische Hochschule Hannover (Hannover, D)
  • J. Menne - Medizinische Hochschule Hannover (Hannover, D)
  • H. Haller - Medizinische Hochschule Hannover (Hannover, D)
  • D. Fliser - Medizinische Hochschule Hannover (Hannover, D)

Hypertonie 2003. 27. Wissenschaftlicher Kongress der Deutschen Hochdruckliga. Bonn, 26.-29.11.2003. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2004. Doc03hochV10

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: November 11, 2004

© 2004 Bahlmann et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.




Circulating bone marrow-derived endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) promote vascular reparative processes and neo-angiogenesis, and their number in peripheral blood correlates with endothelial function and cardiovascular risk. We tested the hypothesis that the cytokine erythropoietin (EPO) stimulates EPC in humans.

Methods and Results

We studied 11 patients with renal anemia and 4 healthy subjects who received standard doses of recombinant human EPO (rhEPO). Treatment with rhEPO caused a significant mobilization of CD34+/45+ circulating progenitor cells in peripheral blood (flow-cytometry), and increased the number of functionally active EPCs (in-vitro assay) in patients (week 2: 312 ± 31%; week 8: 308 ± 40%;both p<0.01 vs. baseline) as well as in healthy subjects (week 8: 194 ± 15%, p<0.05 vs. baseline). The effect on EPCs was already observed with a rhEPO dose of about 30 IU/kg/week. Administration of rhEPO increased the number of functionally active EPCs by differentiation in vitro in a dose dependent manner, assessed in cell culture and by tube formation assay. Furthermore, rhEPO activates the Akt protein kinase pathway in EPCs.


Erythropoietin increases the number of functionally active EPCs in humans. Administration of rhEPO or EPO analogues may open new therapeutic strategies in regenerative cardiovascular medicine.

[Fig. 1]