Erythropoietin exerts direct immunomodulatory effects on the cytokine production by activated human T-lymphocytes

Int Immunopharmacol. 2016 Jul;36:277-281. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2016.05.006. Epub 2016 May 18.


The effect of erythropoietin-β (Epo-β) on the functional profile of activated human T-lymphocytes remains largely unknown, which hinders clinical application of Epo as an immunomodulatory agent. We studied the direct impact of Epo on the activation status of human T lymphocytes following activation by particles loaded with antibodies (Abs) against human CD2, CD3, and CD28. T cell activation was assessed by the surface expression of CD38 activation marker. Epo did not significantly affect activation status of both CD4(+) and CD4(-) T cells, as well as of naive (CD45RA(+)CD197(+)), central memory (CD45RA(-)CD197(+)), effector memory (CD45RA(-)CD197(-)), and terminally-differentiated (CD45RA(+)CD197(-)) T cells. However, Epo markedly augmented production of IL-2, IL-4 and IL10 by activated T cells with concomitant reduction in IFN-γ secretion. Taken together, our data showed that Epo could directly down-regulate pro-inflammatory T cell responses without affecting T cell activation status.

Keywords: Erythropoietin; Interferon-gamma; Interleukin; T cell; СD38.

MeSH terms

  • ADP-ribosyl Cyclase 1 / metabolism
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Erythropoietin / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / pharmacology*
  • Immunologic Memory / drug effects
  • Lymphocyte Activation / drug effects
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / drug effects*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Cytokines
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • epoetin beta
  • Erythropoietin
  • ADP-ribosyl Cyclase 1