• Reactive oxygen species;
  • Erythroid differentiation;
  • Erythropoietin;
  • N-acetyl-l-cysteine


To determine the role of reactive oxygen species in erythroid differentiation, we investigated the effects of an antioxidant, N-acetyl-l-cysteine (NAC), on the differentiation of erythroid progenitors derived from mouse fetal liver. In response to erythropoietin (Epo), erythroid progenitors undergo differentiation in vitro and express erythroid-specific genes such as βmajor-globin, Alas2, MafK, p45, Eklf, and Gata1. Expression of these genes was decreased in the presence of NAC, whereas the expression of c-myb, which is downregulated during erythroid differentiation, remained constant. Moreover, NAC treatment inhibited an increase in the number of cells expressing high levels of erythroid-specific antigen TER119. Treatment with another antioxidant, pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate, also caused the attenuation of TER119 expression. These results suggest that reactive oxygen species are involved in Epo-mediated erythroid differentiation.