• Erythropoietin reduces pathogenic humoral immunity by inhibiting T Follicular Helper cell differentiation and function
  • Bin, Sofia <1990>


  • MED/14 Nefrologia


  • A large fraction of organ transplant recipients develop anti-donor antibodies (DSA), with accelerated graft loss and increased mortality. We tested the hypothesis that erythropoietin (EPO) reduces DSA formation by inhibiting T follicular helper (TFH) cells. We measured DSA levels, splenic TFH, TFR cells, germinal center (GC), and class switched B cells, in murine models of allogeneic sensitization, allogeneic transplantation and in parent-to-F1 models of graft versus host disease (GVHD). We quantified the same cell subsets and specific antibodies, upon EPO or vehicle treatment, in wild type mice and animals lacking EPO receptor selectively on T or B cells, immunized with T-independent or T-dependent stimuli. In vitro, we tested the EPO effect on TFH induction. We isolated TFH and TFR cells to perform in vitro assay and clarify their role. EPO reduced DSA levels, GC, class switched B cells, and increased the TFR/TFH ratio in the heart transplanted mice and in two GVHD models. EPO did also reduce TFH and GC B cells in SRBC-immunized mice, while had no effect in TNP-AECM-FICOLL-immunized animals, indicating that EPO inhibits GC B cells by targeting TFH cells. EPO effects were absent in T cells EPOR conditional KO mice, confirming that EPO affects TFH in vivo through EPOR. In vitro, EPO affected TFH induction through an EPO-EPOR-STAT5-dependent pathway. Suppression assay demonstrated that the reduction of IgG antibodies was dependent on TFH cells, sustaining the central role of the subset in this EPO-mediated mechanism. In conclusion, EPO prevents DSA formation in mice through a direct suppression of TFH. Development of DSA is associated with high risk of graft rejection, giving our data a strong rationale for studies testing the hypothesis that EPO administration prevents their formation in organ transplant recipients. Our findings provide a foundation for testing EPO as a treatment of antibody mediated disease processes.


  • 2021-05-14


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Bin, Sofia (2021) Erythropoietin reduces pathogenic humoral immunity by inhibiting T Follicular Helper cell differentiation and function, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze cardio nefro toraciche , 33 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/9694.