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1.  The uORF-containing thrombopoietin mRNA escapes nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) 
Nucleic Acids Research  2006;34(8):2355-2363.
Platelet production is induced by the cytokine thrombopoietin (TPO). It is physiologically critical that TPO expression is tightly regulated, because lack of TPO causes life-threatening thrombocytopenia while an excess of TPO results in thrombocytosis. The plasma concentration of TPO is controlled by a negative feedback loop involving receptor-mediated uptake of TPO by platelets. Furthermore, TPO biosynthesis is limited by upstream open reading frames (uORFs) that curtail the translation of the TPO mRNA. uORFs are suggested to activate RNA degradation by nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) in a number of physiological transcripts. Here, we determine whether NMD affects TPO expression. We show that reporter mRNAs bearing the seventh TPO uORF escape NMD. Importantly, endogenously expressed TPO mRNA from HuH7 cells is unaffected by abrogation of NMD by RNAi. Thus, regulation of TPO expression is independent of NMD, implying that mRNAs bearing uORFs cannot generally be considered to represent NMD targets.
PMCID: PMC1458284  PMID: 16679454
2.  Regulation of polymorphonuclear cell activation by thrombopoietin. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1997;99(7):1576-1584.
Thrombopoietin (TPO) regulates early and late stages of platelet formation as well as platelet activation. TPO exerts its effects by binding to the receptor, encoded by the protooncogene c-mpl, that is expressed in a large number of cells of hematopoietic origin. In this study, we evaluated the expression of c-Mpl and the effects of TPO on human polymorphonuclear cells (PMN). We demonstrate that PMN express the TPO receptor c-Mpl and that TPO induces STAT1 tyrosine phosphorylation and the formation of a serum inducible element complex containing STAT1. The analysis of biological effects of TPO on PMN demonstrated that TPO, at concentrations of 1-10 ng/ml, primes the response of PMN to n-formyl-met-leu-phe (FMLP) by inducing an early oxidative burst. TPO-induced priming on FMLP-stimulated PMN was also detected on the tyrosine phosphorylation of a protein with a molecular mass of approximately 28 kD. Moreover, we demonstrated that TPO by itself was able to stimulate, at doses ranging from 0.05 to 10 ng/ml, early release and delayed synthesis of interleukin 8 (IL-8). Thus, our data indicate that, in addition to sustaining megakaryocytopoiesis, TPO may have an important role in regulating PMN activation.
PMCID: PMC507977  PMID: 9120001
3.  Human thrombopoietin reduces myocardial infarct size, apoptosis, and stunning following ischaemia/reperfusion in rats 
Cardiovascular research  2007;77(1):44-53.
Thrombopoietin (Tpo) is known for its ability to stimulate platelet production. However, it is currently unknown whether Tpo plays a physiological function in the heart.
Methods and results
We assessed the potential protective role of Tpo in vitro and in vivo in two rat models of myocardial ischaemia/reperfusion. Tpo receptor (c-mpl) message was detected in the heart using RT-PCR, and the Tpo receptor protein was detected using western blotting and immunohistochemistry. Tpo treatment immediately before ischaemia reduced myocardial necrosis, apoptosis, and decline in ventricular function following ischaemia/reperfusion in the rat in a concentration- and dose-dependent manner with an optimal concentration of 1.0 ng/mL in vitro and an optimal dose of 0.05 μg/kg iv in vivo. Tpo also reduced infarct size when given after the onset of ischaemia or at reperfusion. Tpo activated JAK-2 (Janus kinase-2) and p44 MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) during reperfusion but not prior to ischaemia. Inhibition of JAK-2 (AG-490), p42/44 MAPK (PD98059), mitochondrial KATP channels (5-HD), and sarcolemmal KATP channels (HMR 1098) abolished Tpo-induced resistance to injury from myocardial ischaemia/reperfusion. AG-490, PD98059, 5-HD, and HMR1098 alone had no effect on cardioprotection. Treatment with a single dose of Tpo (0.05 or 1.0 μg/kg iv) did not result in the elevation of platelet count or haematocrit over a 16-day period.
A single treatment of Tpo confers cardioprotection through JAK-2, p42/44 MAPK, and KATP channels, suggesting a potential therapeutic role of Tpo in the treatment of injury resulting from myocardial ischaemia and reperfusion.
PMCID: PMC2958050  PMID: 18006466
Ischaemia; thrombopoietin; protein kinases; infarction; K-ATP channel
4.  Physiological regulation of early and late stages of megakaryocytopoiesis by thrombopoietin 
Thrombopoietin (TPO) has recently been cloned and shown to regulate megakaryocyte and platelet production by activating the cytokine receptor c-mpl. To determine whether TPO is the only ligand for c-mpl and the major regulator of megakaryocytopoiesis, TPO deficient mice were generated by gene targeting. TPO-/- mice have a >80% decrease in their platelets and megakaryocytes but have normal levels of all the other hematopoietic cell types. A gene dosage effect observed in heterozygous mice suggests that the TPO gene is constitutively expressed and that the circulating TPO level is directly regulated by the platelet mass. Bone marrow from TPO-/- mice have decreased numbers of megakaryocyte-committed progenitors as well as lower ploidy in the megakaryocytes that are present. These results demonstrate that TPO alone is the major physiological regulator of both proliferation and differentiation of hematopoietic progenitor cells into mature megakaryocytes but that TPO is not critical to the final step of platelet production.
PMCID: PMC2192470  PMID: 8627177
5.  Biology and Chemistry of Thrombopoietic Agents 
Seminars in hematology  2010;47(3):243-248.
Endogenous thrombopoietin (eTPO) regulates platelet production by increasing the number, ploidy and maturation rate of bone marrow megakaryocytes. Early attempts to treat thrombocytopenia by the administration of recombinant TPO were successful but were complicated by the development of antibodies to one of the recombinant proteins. Two new TPO mimetics have recently been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). Romiplostim is a peptide TPO mimetic composed of an IgG Fc fragment to which are attached four 14-amino acid TPO peptides that activate the TPO receptor by binding to the extracytoplasmic domain just like eTPO. Romiplostim is administered as a weekly subcutaneous injection. Eltrombopag is a non-peptide TPO mimetic that is a 442 Da drug that binds to a transmembrane site on the TPO receptor and thereby activates it. It is administered daily as an oral tablet. Administration of both romiplostim and eltrombopag to healthy volunteers produced a dose-dependent rise in platelet count beginning on day 5 and peaking at days 12-15. Both have been highly effective in increasing the platelet count in patients with ITP and are currently being studied in the treatment of other thrombocytopenic conditions (MDS, chemotherapy, liver disease).
PMCID: PMC2904343  PMID: 20620435
6.  Thrombopoietin as Biomarker and Mediator of Cardiovascular Damage in Critical Diseases 
Mediators of Inflammation  2012;2012:390892.
Thrombopoietin (TPO) is a humoral growth factor originally identified for its ability to stimulate the proliferation and differentiation of megakaryocytes. In addition to its actions on thrombopoiesis, TPO directly modulates the homeostatic potential of mature platelets by influencing their response to several stimuli. In particular, TPO does not induce platelet aggregation per se but is able to enhance platelet aggregation in response to different agonists (“priming effect”). Our research group was actively involved, in the last years, in characterizing the effects of TPO in several human critical diseases. In particular, we found that TPO enhances platelet activation and monocyte-platelet interaction in patients with unstable angina, chronic cigarette smokers, and patients with burn injury and burn injury complicated with sepsis. Moreover, we showed that TPO negatively modulates myocardial contractility by stimulating its receptor c-Mpl on cardiomyocytes and the subsequent production of NO, and it mediates the cardiodepressant activity exerted in vitro by serum of septic shock patients by cooperating with TNF-α and IL-1β. This paper will summarize the most recent results obtained by our research group on the pathogenic role of elevated TPO levels in these diseases and discuss them together with other recently published important studies on this topic.
PMCID: PMC3337636  PMID: 22577249
7.  Tensin2 is a novel mediator in thrombopoietin (TPO)-induced cellular proliferation by promoting Akt signaling 
Cell Cycle  2011;10(11):1838-1844.
Thrombopoietin (TPO) and its receptor c-Mpl are essential in the regulation of the hematopoietic stem and progenitors cells as well as for the differentiation of megakaryocytes into mature platelets. Once TPO binds to its receptor, an intracellular signaling process is initiated through Janus kinase (JAK-2)-induced phosphorylation of the c-Mpl intracellular domain. Although some protein mediators that transmit the effects of TPO have been identified, many remain undiscovered. Using an unbiased approach with peptide microarrays that contained virtually every Src Homology (SH)2 and Phosphotyrosine Binding (PT B) domains in the human genome, we discovered a previously unreported interaction between c-Mpl at phospho-Tyrosine631 (pY631) and Tensin2, a protein for which limited information is available. Confirming the findings of the microarrays, we discovered that Tensin2 co-precipitates with a pY631 bearing peptide. Furthermore, we found that Tensin2 becomes phosphorylated in a TPO-dependent manner. The functional consequence of Tensin2 was tested via knockdown of Tensin2, which dramatically decreased TPO-dependent cellular proliferation of UT7-TPO cell line as well as their activation of Akt signaling. These studies affirm the use of these arrays as an unbiased screening tool of proteinprotein interactions. We conclude that Tensin2 is an important new mediator in TPO/c-Mpl pathway and has a positive affect on cellular growth, at least in part through its effect on the PI3K/Akt signaling.
PMCID: PMC3233486  PMID: 21527831
tensin2; thrombopoietin; c-Mpl; signal transduction; cellular proliferation
8.  Lnk Inhibits Tpo–mpl Signaling and Tpo-mediated Megakaryocytopoiesis 
Thrombopoietin (Tpo) is the primary cytokine regulating megakaryocyte development and platelet production. Tpo signaling through its receptor, c-mpl, activates multiple pathways including signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)3, STAT5, phosphoinositide 3-kinase–Akt, and p42/44 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). The adaptor protein Lnk is implicated in cytokine receptor and immunoreceptor signaling. Here, we show that Lnk overexpression negatively regulates Tpo-mediated cell proliferation and endomitosis in hematopoietic cell lines and primary hematopoietic cells. Lnk attenuates Tpo-induced S-phase progression in 32D cells expressing mpl, and Lnk decreases Tpo-dependent megakaryocyte growth in bone marrow (BM)–derived megakaryocyte culture. Consistent with this result, we found that in both BM and spleen, Lnk-deficient mice exhibited increased numbers of megakaryocytes with increased ploidy compared with wild-type mice. In addition, Lnk-deficient megakaryocytes derived from BM and spleen showed enhanced sensitivity to Tpo during culture. The absence of Lnk caused enhanced and prolonged Tpo induction of STAT3, STAT5, Akt, and MAPK signaling pathways in CD41+ megakaryocytes. Furthermore, the Src homology 2 domain of Lnk is essential for Lnk's inhibitory function. In contrast, the conserved tyrosine near the COOH terminus is dispensable and the pleckstrin homology domain of Lnk contributes to, but is not essential for, inhibiting Tpo-dependent 32D cell growth or megakaryocyte development. Thus, Lnk negatively modulates mpl signaling pathways and is important for Tpo-mediated megakaryocytopoiesis in vivo.
PMCID: PMC2212736  PMID: 15337790
hematopoiesis; megakaryocytes; cytokine receptors; cell proliferation; endomitosis
9.  Extracellular Domain N-Glycosylation Controls Human Thrombopoietin Receptor Cell Surface Levels 
The thrombopoietin receptor (TpoR) is a type I transmembrane protein that mediates the signaling functions of thrombopoietin (Tpo) in regulating megakaryocyte differentiation, platelet formation, and hematopoietic stem cell renewal. We probed the role of each of the four extracellular domain putative N-glycosylation sites for cell surface localization and function of the receptor. Single N-glycosylation mutants at any of the four sites were able to acquire the mature N-glycosylated pattern, but exhibited a decreased Tpo-dependent JAK2–STAT response in stably transduced Ba/F3 or Ba/F3-JAK2 cell lines. The ability of JAK2 to promote cell surface localization and stability of TpoR required the first N-glycosylation site (Asn117). In contrast, the third N-glycosylation site (Asn298) decreased receptor maturation and stability. TpoR mutants lacking three N-glycosylation sites were defective in maturation, but N-glycosylation on the single remaining site could be detected by sensitivity to PNGaseF. The TpoR mutant defective in all four N-glycosylation sites was severely impaired in plasma membrane localization and was degraded by the proteasome. N-glycosylation receptor mutants are not misfolded as, once localized on the cell surface in overexpression conditions, they can bind and respond to Tpo. Our data indicate that extracellular domain N-glycosylation sites regulate in a combinatorial manner cell surface localization of TpoR. We discuss how mutations around TpoR N-glycosylation sites might contribute to inefficient receptor traffic and disease.
PMCID: PMC3355985  PMID: 22649382
cytokine receptor; thrombopoietin; JAK2; N-glycosylation; signal transduction; endoglycosidase H; ER maturation; cell surface traffic
10.  Thrombopoietin Receptor Agonists in Primary ITP 
Seminars in hematology  2013;50(0 1):S18-S21.
Thrombopoietin (TPO) regulates thrombopoiesis through activation of TPO receptors on the megakaryocyte cell surface, resulting in increased platelet production. The TPO receptor agonists are novel treatments for patients with chronic ITP aimed at increasing platelet production through interactions with the TPO receptor on megakaryocytes. Two TPO receptor agonists, romiplostim and eltrombopag, have received regulatory approval. In patients with chronic ITP who remain at risk of bleeding following treatment with first-line therapies, these agents have been shown to increase platelet counts, decrease bleeding events and reduce the need for adjunctive or rescue treatments. The TPO receptor agonists are well-tolerated, though uncertainty remains regarding the risk of thromboembolism and bone marrow fibrosis. Comparative clinical trial data addressing the efficacy, safety, cost-effectiveness, and impact on health-related quality of life of TPO receptor agonists relative to other second-line treatment options are needed to guide treatment decisions in chronic ITP patients who fail first-line therapies.
PMCID: PMC3658154  PMID: 23664510
immune thrombocytopenia; ITP; thrombopoietin receptor agonists; eltrombopag; romiplostim
11.  Serum Thrombopoietin and cMpl Expression in Thrombocytopenia of Different Etiologies 
Hematology Reports  2014;6(1):4996.
The relationship between thrombopoietin (TPO) and its receptor cMpl in thrombocytopenic conditions has not been entirely clarified. To elucidate this interplay may expand the spectrum of indications of TPO mimetics. In this study we have explored the relationship between TPO and cMpl in platelets and megakaryocytes of 43 patients with thrombocytopenia due to idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), bone marrow hypoplasia, myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), and familial thrombocytopenia. Data were compared to cMpl and TPO in patients with a normal platelet count and in patients with thrombocytosis due to essential thrombocythemia (ET). All but familial patients showed higher TPO compared to controls. All thrombocytopenic states were invariably associated with increased expression of platelet cMPL compared to healthy controls. ET patients showed normal TPO and a trend toward a reduced cMpl expression. Immunofluorescence of bone marrow sections from patients with ITP and MDS failed to show a peculiar pattern compared to controls. Multiple mechanisms regulate TPO and cMpl in thrombocytopenic conditions.
PMCID: PMC3977153
thrombocytopenia; thrombopoietin; thrombopoietin receptor; thrombopoiesis
12.  Role of the Distal Half of the c-Mpl Intracellular Domain in Control of Platelet Production by Thrombopoietin In Vivo 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2000;20(2):507-515.
The cytokine thrombopoietin (TPO) controls the formation of megakaryocytes and platelets from hematopoietic stem cells. TPO exerts its effect through activation of the c-Mpl receptor and of multiple downstream signal transduction pathways. While the membrane-proximal half of the cytoplasmic domain appears to be required for the activation of signaling molecules that drive proliferation, the distal half and activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway have been implicated in mediating megakaryocyte maturation in vitro. To investigate the contribution of these two regions of c-Mpl and the signaling pathways they direct in mediating the function of TPO in vivo, we used a knock-in (KI) approach to delete the carboxy-terminal 60 amino acids of the c-Mpl receptor intracellular domain. Mice lacking the C-terminal 60 amino acids of c-Mpl (Δ60 mice) have normal platelet and megakaryocyte counts compared to wild-type mice. Furthermore, platelets in the KI mice are functionally normal, indicating that activation of signaling pathways connected to the C-terminal half of the receptor is not required for megakaryocyte differentiation or platelet production. However, Δ60 mice have an impaired response to exogenous TPO stimulation and display slower recovery from myelosuppressive treatment, suggesting that combinatorial signaling by both ends of the receptor intracellular domain is necessary for an appropriate acute response to TPO.
PMCID: PMC85116  PMID: 10611229
13.  A novel mutation in MPL (Y252H) results in increased thrombopoietin sensitivity in Essential Thrombocythaemia 
American Journal of Hematology  2012;87(5):532-534.
Essential Thrombocythaemia (ET) is a rare type of myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) characterized by clonal expansion of the megakaryocyte and platelet lineage. Here, we describe a novel mutation (Y252H) in the thrombopoietin (TPO) receptor, or MPL, in a JAK2 mutation-negative ET patient. The bone marrow examination revealed increased numbers of dysmorphic megakaryocytes with focal clustering. The x-inactivation pattern suggested clonal expansion of hematopoietic cells in the bone marrow. Furthermore we found that the patient’s bone marrow cells were hypersensitive to TPO in generating megakaryocyte colonies in vitro. More importantly, we demonstrated that this MPL Y252H mutant confers increased TPO/MPL-mediated cell growth and increased cell survival upon cytokine withdrawal in BaF3 cells, indicating it is a disease-driving mutation and may contribute to the development of ET in vivo. In summary, this is the first report describing a mutation in the extracellular domain of MPL underlying ET.
PMCID: PMC3388505  PMID: 22389068
14.  Involvement of Prolonged Ras Activation in Thrombopoietin-Induced Megakaryocytic Differentiation of a Human Factor-Dependent Hematopoietic Cell Line 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1998;18(7):4282-4290.
Thrombopoietin (TPO) is a hematopoietic growth factor that plays fundamental roles is both megakaryopoiesis and thrombopoiesis through binding to its receptor, c-mpl. Although TPO has been shown to activate various types of intracellular signaling molecules, such as the Janus family of protein tyrosine kinases, signal transducers and activators of transcription (STATs), and ras, the precise mechanisms underlying TPO-induced proliferation and differentiation remain unknown. In an effort to clarify the mechanisms of TPO-induced proliferation and differentiation, c-mpl was introduced into F-36P, a human interleukin-3 (IL-3)-dependent erythroleukemia cell line, and the effects of TPO on the c-mpl-transfected F-36P (F-36P-mpl) cells were investigated. F-36P-mpl cells were found to proliferate and differentiate at a high rate into mature megakaryocytes in response to TPO. Dominant-negative (dn) forms of STAT1, STAT3, STAT5, and ras were inducibly expressed in F-36P-mpl cells, and their effects on TPO-induced proliferation and megakaryocytic differentiation were analyzed. Among these dn molecules, both dn ras and dn STAT5 reduced TPO- or IL-3-induced proliferation of F-36P-mpl cells by ∼30%, and only dn ras could inhibit TPO-induced megakaryocytic differentiation. In accord with this result, overexpression of activated ras (H-rasG12V) for 5 days led to megakaryocytic differentiation of F-36P-mpl cells. In a time course analysis on H-rasG12V-induced differentiation, activation of the ras pathway for 24 to 28 h was required and sufficient to induce megakaryocytic differentiation. Consistent with this result, the treatment of F-36P-mpl cells with TPO was able to induce prolonged activation of ras for more than 24 h, whereas IL-3 had only a transient effect. These results suggest that prolonged ras activation may be involved in TPO-induced megakaryocytic differentiation.
PMCID: PMC109012  PMID: 9632812
Experimental hematology  2008;36(7):799-806.
Platelet production is regulated primarily by the cytokine thrombopoietin (TPO). Although TPO is expressed in several different tissues, only in the bone marrow has the level of expression been reported to increase in response to reduced numbers of platelets. In these studies we demonstrate that platelet granule proteins are able to transcriptionally repress TPO mRNA expression in a marrow stromal cell line as well as in primary bone marrow stromal cell cultures. Like TPO mRNA, secretion of TPO protein was also suppressed by serum treatment. Reporter gene constructs indicate that DNA elements located in an approximately 1.9 kb region between 250bp upstream of the transcriptional initiation site and the middle of the second intron are able to mediate the transcriptional repression.
PMCID: PMC2517608  PMID: 18410987
16.  Platelet Kinetics in Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura Patients Treated with Thrombopoietin Receptor Agonists 
Thrombopoietin receptor agonists (Tpo RA) increase platelet counts in the majority of chronic autoimmune thrombocytopenia (idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura; ITP) patients. It is unknown whether this treatment may also improve platelet survival (PS) in these patients.
In order to determine platelet survival (PS), autologous platelets were labeled with 111In oxine and retransfused in six patients under treatment with Tpo RA (romiplostim n = 3; eltrombopag n = 3).
Stable platelet counts of greater than 100 × 103/μl were observed in all 6 patients. Platelet survival was decreased in all cases (mean 2.10 days; range 0.13–3.73 days). No correlation was found between platelet count and PS. Similarly, there was no significant relationship between platelet turnover and platelet count. However, a high platelet turnover, exceeding 25 or three times the norm was observed in 2 patients who presented the lowest PS (0.13 or 0.83 days). Two patients had a moderately shortened PS (1.91 or 2.42 days), and, correspondingly, a moderately increased platelet turnover rate (63,072 or 72,872 platelets/μl/day).
These results indicate that Tpo RA may not only overcompensate platelet destruction in ITP, but may interfere with other mechanisms, which, in some cases, results in a reduced platelet destruction rate.
PMCID: PMC3388617  PMID: 22896760
Platelet survival; Platelet kinetics; Thrombopoietin; Romiplostim; Eltrombopag
17.  Pharmacodynamics-Mediated Drug Disposition (PDMDD) and Precursor Pool Lifespan Model for Single Dose of Romiplostim in Healthy Subjects 
The AAPS Journal  2010;12(4):729-740.
The objective of this study was to characterize the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics (PK-PD) of romiplostim after single-dose administration in healthy subjects. The mean serum romiplostim concentrations (PK data) and mean platelet counts (PD data) collected from 32 subjects receiving a single intravenous (0.3, 1 and 10 μg/kg) or subcutaneous (0.1, 0.3, 1, and 2 μg/kg) dose were fitted simultaneously to a mechanistic PK-PD model based on pharmacodynamics-mediated drug disposition (PDMDD) and a precursor pool lifespan concept. The two-compartment PK model incorporated receptor-mediated endocytosis and linear mechanisms as parallel elimination pathways. The maximal concentration of receptors (assumed to be proportional to the platelet count), the equilibrium dissociation constant, and the first-order internalization rate constant for endocytosis of the drug-receptor complex were 0.022 fg/platelet, 0.131 ng/mL, and 0.173 h−1, respectively. Romiplostim concentration stimulates the production of platelet precursors via the Hill function, where the SC50 was 0.052 ng/mL and Smax was 11.2. The estimated precursor cell and platelet lifespans were 5.9 and 10.5 days, respectively. Model-based simulations revealed that the romiplostim exposure and the platelet response are both dependent on the dose administered and the baseline platelet counts. Also, weekly dosing produced a sustained PD response while dosing intervals ≥2 weeks resulted in fluctuating platelet counts. Thus, the mechanistic PK-PD model was suitable for describing the romiplostim PK-PD interplay (PDMDD), the dose-dependent platelet stimulation, and the lifespans of thrombopoietic cell populations.
PMCID: PMC2976980  PMID: 20963535
lifespan model; pharmacodynamics-mediated drug disposition (PDMDD); platelets; romiplostim; thrombopoiesis receptor agonist
18.  Thrombopoietin-Mediated Sustained Activation of Extracellular Signal-Regulated Kinase in UT7-Mpl Cells Requires Both Ras–Raf-1- and Rap1–B-Raf-Dependent Pathways 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2001;21(8):2659-2670.
Thrombopoietin (TPO) regulates growth and differentiation of megakaryocytes. We previously showed that extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs) are required for TPO-mediated full megakaryocytic maturation in both normal progenitors and a megakaryoblastic cell line (UT7) expressing the TPO receptor (Mpl). In these cells, intensity and duration of TPO-induced ERK signal are controlled by several regions of the cytoplasmic domain of Mpl. In this study, we explored the signaling pathways involved in this control. We show that the small GTPases Ras and Rap1 contribute together to TPO-induced ERK activation in UT7-Mpl cells and that they do so by activating different Raf kinases as downstream effectors: a Ras–Raf-1 pathway is required to initiate ERK activation while Rap1 sustains this signal through B-Raf. Indeed, (i) in cells expressing wild-type or mutant Mpl, TPO-induced Ras and Rap1 activation correlates with early and sustained phases of ERK signal, respectively; (ii) interfering mutants of Ras and Rap1 both inhibit ERK kinase activity and ERK-dependent Elk1 transcriptional activation in response to TPO; (iii) the kinetics of activation of Raf-1 and B-Raf by TPO follow those of Ras and Rap1, respectively; (iv) RasV12-mediated Elk1 activation was modulated by the wild type or interfering mutants of Raf-1 but not those of B-Raf; (v) Elk1 activation mediated by a constitutively active mutant of Rap1 (Rap1V12) is potentiated by B-Raf and inhibited by an interfering mutant of this kinase. UT7-Mpl cells represent the second cellular model in which Ras and Rap1 act in concert to modulate the duration of ERK signal in response to a growth factor and thereby the differentiation program. This is also, to our knowledge, the first evidence suggesting that Rap1 may play an active role in megakaryocytic maturation.
PMCID: PMC86897  PMID: 11283246
19.  Thrombopoietin Contributes to Neuronal Damage in Experimental Bacterial Meningitis ▿  
Infection and Immunity  2010;79(2):928-936.
Thrombopoietin (Tpo), which primarily regulates megakaryopoiesis, and its receptor (c-Mpl) are expressed in the brain, where Tpo exhibits proapototic effects on neurons. In the present study, we investigated the implication of Tpo in experimental pneumococcal meningitis. Following intrathecal infection with the encapsulated Streptococcus pneumoniae strain D39, we observed upregulation of Tpo mRNA expression at 12 h and 24 h in brain homogenates of wild-type C57BL/6 mice. c-Mpl mRNA expression was upregulated at 12 h and returned to baseline at 24 h. Compared to wild-type mice, mutants with homozygous Tpo receptor ablation (c-Mpl−/−) displayed reduced microglial activation and neuronal apoptosis in the dentate gyrus. Concentrations of bacteria in blood or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), as well as CSF pleocytosis, were not significantly different between wild-type and c-Mpl−/− mice. In human postmortem brain, Tpo protein was colocalized to macrophages during encephalitis. In murine primary microglia and RAW264.7 macrophages, upregulation of Tpo mRNA was induced by D39-conditioned medium but not by bacterial lipopeptide or by medium conditioned by pneumococcal mutants defective in hydrogen peroxide formation (ΔspxB) or pneumolysin (Δpln). We conclude that Tpo acts as a mediator of neuronal damage in bacterial meningitis.
PMCID: PMC3028827  PMID: 21149592
20.  TPO, but not soluble-IL-6 receptor, levels increase after anagrelide treatment of thrombocythemia in chronic myeloproliferative disorders 
Anagrelide is often used in the treatment of thrombocythemia in myeloproliferative disease (MPD), but information concerning effects of treatment on cytokines involved in regulation of blood platelet levels is limited. Here, we investigated serum levels of thrombopoietin (TPO) and soluble IL-6 receptor (sIL-6R) in relation to response to treatment with and plasma concentrations of anagrelide. Samples from 45 patients with thrombocythemia due to MPD (ET=31, PV=14), being treated with anagrelide for 6 months, were analyzed for TPO, sIL-6R and anagrelide levels. The mean baseline platelet count was 983x109/L. A reduction of platelets to <600 in asymptomatic or <400 x 109/L in symptomatic patients was defined as a complete remission (CR), a reduction with >50% of baseline as partial remission, and <50% reduction as failure. At 6 months, 35 patients were in CR, 1 had a partial remission and 9 were treatment failures. For all patients, there was an increase in TPO of 44% from baseline; this change was more pronounced for patients with partial remission and failure. sIL-6R levels did not change significantly. There was no correlation between levels of anagrelide and cytokine levels at 6 months, and changes of cytokine levels did not relate to changes of platelet counts. Thus, a pronounced increase of TPO levels after 6 months of anagrelide treatment indicated that this treatment affected a major regulatory mechanism for megakaryocyte and platelet formation in MPD.
PMCID: PMC2293642  PMID: 18414650
thrombocythemia; anagrelide; thrombopoietin; IL-6; soluble receptors
21.  Total remission of severe immune thrombocytopenia after short term treatment with romiplostim 
Hematology Reports  2011;3(3):e20.
Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) in adults is an acquired chronic immune-mediated disorder defined by isolated thrombocytopenia. In recent years, an improved understanding of the pathophysiology of ITP has been achieved and it is now accepted that the disorder is due to increased platelet destruction and decreased platelet production from megakary-ocytes. Thrombopoietin (TPO)-receptor agonists (romiplostim and eltrombopag) are new therapeutic modalities in the treatment of ITP. Here we describe a case of an elderly patient with severe ITP who presented complete remission after short-term use of romiplostim (only 3 weekly doses). This finding is quite interesting as the TPO-receptor agonists are, so far, believed to rarely lead to off-treatment sustained remission. The common notion of long-term use of romiplostim could be reexamined in future studies. Furthermore, the short term treatment with romiplostim may reduce the cost and the risk of side effects.
PMCID: PMC3269797  PMID: 22593812
immune thrombocytopenia; thrombopoietin-receptor agonists; romiplostim.
22.  Assessment of immunogenicity of romiplostim in clinical studies with ITP subjects 
Annals of Hematology  2010;89(Suppl 1):75-85.
Romiplostim is an Fc-peptide fusion protein that activates intracellular transcriptional pathways via the thrombopoietin (TPO) receptor leading to increased platelet production. Romiplostim has been engineered to have no amino acid sequence homology to endogenous TPO. Recombinant protein therapeutics can be at a risk of development of an antibody response that can impact efficacy and safety. Hence, a strategy to detect potential antibody formation to the drug and to related endogenous molecules can be useful. The immunogenicity assessment strategy involved both the detection and characterization of binding and neutralizing antibodies. The method for detection was based on a surface plasmon resonance biosensor platform using the Biacore 3000. Samples that tested positive for binding antibodies in the Biacore immunoassay were then tested in a neutralization assay. Serum samples from 225 subjects with immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) dosed with romiplostim and 45 ITP subjects dosed with placebo were tested for romiplostim and TPO antibodies. Prior to romiplostim treatment, 17 subjects (7%) tested romiplostim antibody positive and 12 subjects (5%) tested TPO antibody positive for pre-existing binding antibodies. After romiplostim exposure, 11% of the subjects exhibited binding antibodies against romiplostim and 5% of the subjects with ITP showed binding antibodies against TPO. The antibodies against romiplostim did not cross-react with TPO and vice versa. No cases of anti-TPO neutralizing antibodies were detected in romiplostim-treated subjects. The incidence of anti-romiplostim neutralizing antibodies to romiplostim was 0.4% (one subject); this subject tested negative at the time of follow-up 4 months later. No impact on platelet profiles were apparent in subjects that had antibodies to romiplostim to date. In summary, administration of romiplostim in ITP subjects resulted in the development of a binding antibody response against romiplostim and TPO ligand. One subject developed a neutralizing antibody response to romiplostim that impacted the platelet counts of this subject. No neutralizing antibodies to endogenous TPO were observed.
PMCID: PMC2900600  PMID: 19484238
Immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP); Romiplostim; Immunogenicity; TPO; Platelet
23.  Novel Pathways to Erythropoiesis Induced by Dimerization of Intracellular c-Mpl in Human Hematopoietic Progenitors 
Stem cells (Dayton, Ohio)  2012;30(4):697-708.
The cytokine thrombopoietin (Tpo) plays a critical role in hematopoiesis by binding to the extracellular domain and inducing homodimerization of the intracellular signaling domain of its receptor, c-Mpl. Mpl homodimerization can also be accomplished by binding of a synthetic ligand to a constitutively expressed fusion protein F36VMpl consisting of a ligand binding domain (F36V) and the intracellular signaling domain of Mpl. Unexpectedly, in contrast to Tpo stimulation, robust erythropoiesis is induced after dimerization of F36VMpl in human CD34+ progenitor cells. The goal of this study was to define the hematopoietic progenitor stages at which dimerization of intracellular Mpl induces erythropoiesis and the downstream molecular events that mediate this unanticipated effect. Dimerization (in the absence of erythropoietin and other cytokines) in human common myeloid progenitors and megakaryocytic erythroid progenitors caused a significant increase in CD34+ cells (p < .01) and induced all stages of erythropoiesis including production of enucleated red blood cells. In contrast, erythropoiesis was not seen with Tpo stimulation. CD34+ cell expansion was the result of increased cell cycling and survival (p < .05). Microarray profiling of CD34+ cells demonstrated that a unique transcriptional pattern is activated in progenitors by F36VMpl dimerization. Ligand-inducible dimerization of intracellular Mpl in human myeloerythroid progenitors induces progenitor expansion and erythropoiesis through molecular mechanisms that are not shared by Tpo stimulation of endogenous Mpl.
PMCID: PMC3973153  PMID: 22290824
humans; myeloid progenitor cells; erythropoiesis; c-Mpl
24.  Pharmacokinetics of amikacin in serum and in tissue contiguous with pressure sores in humans with spinal cord injury. 
Pressure sores are a common occurrence in immobilized patients. They increase morbidity and mortality and impede rehabilitation. Antibiotics are routinely used to assist in effecting a cure when infection is present. Nevertheless, for patients with spinal cord injuries (SCI), strategies for effective therapy with antibiotics based on measurement of concentrations in tissue and pharmacokinetic behavior in extravascular spaces do not exist. By analyzing the concentration-time profile and protein binding of amikacin in the interstitial fluid (IF) in contact with pressure sores, we found that the disposition of amikacin in the tissue contiguous with pressure sores appears to be governed by simultaneous first-order and capacity-limited pharmacokinetic behavior. Amikacin disposition in IF proceeded without a simple relationship to amikacin concentrations in serum, and the time course in IF was not accurately simulated by linear models of amikacin pharmacokinetic behavior. Total amikacin clearance estimated from a pharmacokinetic model using simultaneous first-order and nonlinear intercompartmental transfer of amikacin was not significantly different from clearance calculated by us in a prior study of amikacin pharmacokinetic behavior in patients with SCI. In patients with SCI, optimal use of amikacin in the treatment of infected pressure sores is contingent upon accurate characterization of the pharmacokinetic behavior of this aminoglycoside in serum and in the IF in contact with these lesions. Only methods which quantitate amikacin concentration and protein binding in IF and incorporate a model that can simultaneously simulate nonlinear and linear disposition processes should be relied upon to influence therapeutic decision making.
PMCID: PMC175993  PMID: 2386372
25.  Interspecies Modeling and Prediction of Human Exenatide Pharmacokinetics 
Pharmaceutical research  2012;30(3):751-760.
To develop a model-based approach for interspecies scaling of the preclinical pharmacokinetics of exenatide and to predict concentration-time profiles in humans.
A target-mediated drug disposition (TMDD) model was simultaneously fit to concentration-time profiles of exenatide over a wide range of intravenous (IV) and subcutaneous (SC) doses obtained from mice, rats, and monkeys. Allometric relationships were incorporated into the model to scale parameters based on species body weight. Human pharmacokinetic profiles following IV and SC administration were simulated using the final model structure and parameter estimates and compared to clinical data.
The final model provided a good simultaneous fit to all animal data and reasonable parameter estimates. Exenatide receptor binding affinity and baseline receptor concentrations were species-dependent. Absorption parameters from rat provided the best prediction of exenatide SC absorption in humans, but good predictions could also be obtained using allometric scaling of preclinical absorption parameters.
A TMDD model combined with allometric scaling was successfully used to simultaneously describe preclinical data for exenatide from three animal species following both IV and SC administration. The majority of model parameters could be shared among the animal species and further used for projecting exenatide behavior in humans.
PMCID: PMC3732180  PMID: 23229855
allometric scaling; nonlinear absorption; nonlinear pharmacokinetics; target-mediated drug disposition; therapeutic proteins

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