Renal Physiology

Regulated oxygen sensing by protein hydroxylation in renal erythropoietin-producing cells

Roland H. Wenger, David Hoogewijs


The kidney is a major site of systemic oxygen sensing, regulating blood erythrocyte and hence oxygen content by hypoxia-inducible erythropoietin (Epo) expression. A constant ratio between blood perfusion and oxygen consumption, a stable corticomedullary oxygen gradient, and a relatively low tissue Po2 are the prerequisites for the function of renal Epo-producing and oxygen-sensing (REPOS) cells, which are located in the juxtamedullary cortex. In kidney disease, renal oxygen consumption is decreased, leading to an increase in Po2, dysfunction of REPOS cells, and anemia. The molecular principles of cellular oxygen sensing have been elucidated in the last few years, and genetically altered mouse models as well as hereditary diseases causing erythrocytosis have clarified the oxygen-signaling cascade leading to increased Epo expression in REPOS cells. However, the consequences of a number of recently discovered factors for the regulation of oxygen signaling in REPOS cells are unclear, asking for novel cell culture models which might be hampered by the putative neuron-like nature of this enigmatic cell type.

  • hypoxia
  • anemia
  • erythrocytosis
  • gene expression
  • kidney disease
  • Krebs cycle
  • reactive oxygen species
  • von Hippel-Lindau
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