Interaction between the glucocorticoid and erythropoietin receptors in human erythroid cells

Emilia Stellacci, Antonella Di Noia, Angela Di Baldassarre, Giovanni Migliaccio, Angela Battistini, Anna Rita Migliaccio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of this study was to identify whether the rapid membrane-associated pathway of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) is active in erythroid cells and plays any role in determining the reversible inhibition on erythroid maturation exerted by GR. Materials and Methods: First we determined the biological effects (inhibition of apoptosis and induction of β-globin expression) induced in primary erythroblasts by erythropoietin (EPO) and the GR agonist dexamethasone (DXM), alone and in combination. Next, by biochemical analysis, we determined the association between GR and EPO receptor in proerythroblasts generated in vitro from 10 normal adult donors. These studies also analyzed the levels of signal transducers and activators of transcription-5 (STAT-5) phosphorylation induced when the cells were stimulated with DXM alone or in combination with EPO. Results: DXM antagonized the β-globin messenger RNA increases, but not the inhibition of apoptosis induced by EPO in primary cells. DXM also antagonized the ability of EPO to induce STAT-5 phosphorylation in these cells. In fact, EPO and DXM alone, but not in combination, induced phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of STAT-5. The inhibition likely occurred through an interaction between the two receptors because GR became associated with the EPO receptor and STAT-5 in cells stimulated with EPO and DXM. Conclusion: These data suggest that glucocorticoids inhibit erythroid maturation not only through a transcriptional mechanism, but also through a rapid membrane-associated pathway that interferes with EPO receptor signaling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-572
Number of pages14
JournalExperimental Hematology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009


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