Improved immunoglobulin production in dialysis patients treated with recombinant erythropoietin

Int J Artif Organs. 1992 Apr;15(4):204-8.


Improvements in B lymphocyte function have been reported in hemodialysis patients receiving erythropoietin. The present investigation studied whether erythropoietin interferes with B cell function and the mechanisms of this effect. Antibody production by cultured peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) (7 days) from 15 dialysis patients before and during erythropoietin treatment and from 14 healthy controls was followed. IgG and IgA were formed less in the uremic group than in healthy subjects. After 8 weeks of erythropoietin (hematocrit rose from 19 to 31%) basal IgG formation by PBMC rose from 304 +/- 83 to 566 +/- 49 ng/ml (p less than 0.02), while IgA production rose from 380 +/- 121 to 563 +/- 362 ng/ml (p less than 0.01). IgM production, which appeared to be normal in uremia, remained unchanged during erythropoietin treatment. Production of IgG and IgA stimulated by pokeweed-mitogen was subnormal in uremia, but improved under erythropoietin therapy. To establish whether erythropoietin acted by itself or through correction of the renal anemia, healthy PBMC were directly incubated with 2 U/ml of erythropoietin. Under these conditions production of IgG (+19%), IgA (+28%), and IgM (+32%) was enhanced. Taken together these data indicate a direct stimulant effect of erythropoietin on B lymphocytes in end-stage renal failure.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Anemia / drug therapy*
  • Anemia / immunology
  • Antibody Formation / drug effects
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Erythropoietin / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins / biosynthesis*
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Renal Dialysis*
  • Uremia / complications
  • Uremia / therapy


  • Immunoglobulins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Erythropoietin