Regulation of blood platelet levels involves an array of cytokines, including the placental hormone PRL-like protein E (PLP-E). The PLP-E receptor is present on megakaryocytes in pregnant mice, non-pregnant female mice, and male mice. Other known megakaryocytic cytokines do not share the PLP-E receptor, and thus the presence of this receptor in nonpregnant animals suggests that PLP-E may be expressed in tissues other than the placenta. Consistent with this prediction, PLP-E is produced in thrombocytopenic mouse bone marrow, primarily in granulocytes, but not in normal mouse bone marrow. Serum from thrombocytopenic mice, purified thrombopoietin or IL-6, or pregnancy can induce bone marrow cell expression of PLP-E. The induction of PLP-E gene expression in response to thrombocytopenia is physiologically significant, as injection of PLP-E into thrombocytopenic mice restores normal platelet levels with no effect on granulocytes, erythrocytes, and total white blood cell counts. We conclude that inducible expression of PLP-E in bone marrow is part of the mechanism of recovery from thrombocytopenia. These results also suggest a more general concept: that the endocrine program of pregnancy, which in mammals has evolved to support the intrauterine growth and development of the fetus, can also be harnessed to respond to pathophysiology.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology