Recombinant human erythropoietin treatment improves platelet function in uremic patients

Kidney Int. 1992 Sep;42(3):668-72. doi: 10.1038/ki.1992.333.


The effect of recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) on primary hemostasis was tested in 19 hemodialyzed patients. Bleeding time, platelet aggregation and platelet interaction with vessel subendothelium (SE) under flow conditions were determined before treatment and after patients reached hematocrits greater than or equal to 30%. Two thrombotic events (an acute myocardial infarction and an AV fistula clotting) were recorded during the early stages of treatment. A shortening of average bleeding times (P less than 0.01), an increase in platelet count (P less than 0.01) and an improvement of platelet aggregation (P less than 0.01) and of platelet-SE interaction (P less than 0.01) were observed. A low correlation index was found between hematocrit and bleeding time (r = -0.351, P less than 0.05). To assess a possible effect of rHuEPO on platelet function, the same parameters were evaluated before and after receiving three doses of rHuEPO (40 U/kg i.v. post-hemodialysis) in 14 of the patients. No changes in platelet or erythrocyte counts were observed, the mean bleeding time remained unchanged, but platelet aggregation induced by arachidonic acid (P less than 0.05), ADP (P less than 0.01) and ristocetin (P less than 0.05) improved. Perfusion studies confirmed moderate but significant increases in the parameters that quantify platelet-SE interaction (P less than 0.05). Improvement of ADP-induced aggregation correlated with the increase of platelet adhesion to SE (r = 0.675, P less than 0.05). We conclude that rHuEPO treatment improves primary hemostasis in uremia through an increase of red cell mass but also through a beneficial effect on platelet function, which is independent of the hematocrit rise.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bleeding Time
  • Blood Platelets / physiology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology
  • Erythropoietin / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Hematocrit
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Platelet Aggregation / drug effects
  • Platelet Count / drug effects
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Uremia / blood*
  • Uremia / physiopathology


  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Erythropoietin