Erythropoietin is a well-known erythroid differentiation and growth factor, but the mechanism of its action is not well understood. In this work, we have examined its mechanism of action on the erythropoietin-responsive murine erythroleukemia cells (TSA8). TSA8 cells become responsive to erythropoietin after induction with DMSO. Stimulatory effects on erythropoietin response are observed with the addition of compounds affecting the cAMP level such as forskolin, phosphodiesterase inhibitor and cholera toxin only in the presence of erythropoietin. cAMP analogues themselves show no stimulatory effect on TSA8 cells, nor does erythropoietin increase cAMP level in the cells. Thus, it is suggested that cAMP does not act as a direct second messenger for signal transduction through erythropoietin receptors, but as a stimulator of the erythropoietin receptor pathway and/or as a second messenger in combination with the receptor pathway. The mechanism for acquisition of responsiveness to growth and differentiation factors of progenitor cells is discussed.

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