AIMS: β-Thalassemia is a common inherited red cell disorder characterized by ineffective erythropoiesis and severe oxidative stress. Peroxiredoxin-2 (Prx2), a typical 2-cysteine peroxiredoxin, is upregulated during β-thalassemic erythropoiesis, but its contribution to stress erythropoiesis, a common feature of thalassemia, is yet to be fully defined. RESULTS: Here, we showed that Prx2(-/-) mice displayed reactive oxygen species related abnormalities in erythropoiesis similar to that of Hbb(th3/+) mice associated with activation of redox response transcriptional factor nuclear factor-erythroid 2 (Nrf2). We generated β-thalassemic mice genetically lacking Prx2 (Prx2(-/-)Hbb(th3/+)) and documented a worsened β-thalassemic hematological phenotype with severe ineffective erythropoiesis. To further validate a key role of Prx2 in stress erythropoiesis, we administrated fused recombinant PEP1Prx2 to Hbb(th3/+) mice and documented a decrease in ineffective erythropoiesis. We further show that Prx2 effects are mediated by activation of Nrf2 and upregulation of genes that protect against oxidative damage such as gluthatione S-transferase, heme-oxygenase-1, and NADPH dehydrogenase quinone-1. INNOVATION: We propose Prx2 as a key antioxidant system and Nrf2 activation is a cellular adaptive process in response to oxidative stress, resulting in upregulation of antioxidant (antioxidant responsive element) genes required to ensure cell survival. CONCLUSION: Our data shed new light on adaptive mechanisms against oxidative damage through the interplay of Prx2 and Nrf2 during stress erythropoiesis and suggest new therapeutic options to decrease ineffective erythropoiesis by modulation of endogenous antioxidant systems. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 00, 000-000.
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