Bennett, Laura F; Liao, Chang; Quickel, Michael D; Yeoh, Beng S; Vijay-Kumar, Matam; Hankey-Giblin, Pamela; Prabhu, K S; Paulson, Robert F
Inflammation alters bone marrow hematopoiesis to favor the production of innate immune effector cells at the expense of lymphoid cells and erythrocytes. Furthermore, proinflammatory cytokines inhibit steady-state erythropoiesis, which leads to the development of anemia in diseases with chronic inflammation. Acute anemia or hypoxic stress induces stress erythropoiesis, which generates a wave of new erythrocytes to maintain erythroid homeostasis until steady-state erythropoiesis can resume. Although hypoxia-dependent signaling is a key component of stress erythropoiesis, we found that inflammation also induced stress erythropoiesis in the absence of hypoxia. Using a mouse model of sterile inflammation, we demonstrated that signaling through Toll-like receptors (TLRs) paradoxically increased the phagocytosis of erythrocytes (erythrophagocytosis) by macrophages in the spleen, which enabled expression of the heme-responsive gene encoding the transcription factor SPI-C. Increased amounts of SPI-C coupled with TLR signaling promoted the expression of and , both of which encode ligands that initiate the expansion of stress erythroid progenitors (SEPs) in the spleen. Furthermore, despite their inhibition of steady-state erythropoiesis in the bone marrow, the proinflammatory cytokines TNF-α and IL-1β promoted the expansion and differentiation of SEPs in the spleen. These data suggest that inflammatory signals induce stress erythropoiesis to maintain erythroid homeostasis when inflammation inhibits steady-state erythropoiesis.