PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles

Biochemistry - Hematology - Physiology

Carbon Monoxide Induced Erythroid Differentiation of K562 Cells Mimics the Central Macrophage Milieu in Erythroblastic Islands
Published: Friday, March 23, 2012
Author: Shlomi Toobiak et al.

by Shlomi Toobiak, Mati Shaklai, Nurith Shaklai

Growing evidence supports the role of erythroblastic islands (EI) as microenvironmental niches within bone marrow (BM), where cell-cell attachments are suggested as crucial for erythroid maturation. The inducible form of the enzyme heme oxygenase, HO-1, which conducts heme degradation, is absent in erythroblasts where hemoglobin (Hb) is synthesized. Yet, the central macrophage, which retains high HO-1 activity, might be suitable to take over degradation of extra, harmful, Hb heme. Of these enzymatic products, only the hydrophobic gas molecule - CO can transfer from the macrophage to surrounding erythroblasts directly via their tightly attached membranes in the terminal differentiation stage. Based on the above, the study hypothesized CO to have a role in erythroid maturation. Thus, the effect of CO gas as a potential erythroid differentiation inducer on the common model for erythroid progenitors, K562 cells, was explored. Cells were kept under oxygen lacking environment to mimic BM conditions. Nitrogen anaerobic atmosphere (N2A) served as control for CO atmosphere (COA). Under both atmospheres cells proliferation ceased: in N2A due to cell death, while in COA as a result of erythroid differentiation. Maturation was evaluated by increased glycophorin A expression and Hb concentration. Addition of 1%CO only to N2A, was adequate for maintaining cell viability. Yet, the average Hb concentration was low as compared to COA. This was validated to be the outcome of diversified maturation stages of the progenitor's population. In fact, the above scenario mimics the in vivo EI conditions, where at any given moment only a minute portion of the progenitors proceeds into terminal differentiation. Hence, this model might provide a basis for further molecular investigations of the EI structure/function relationship.