Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESA) and iron have been available since decades to treat anemia of chronic kidney disease (CKD). However, many grey areas surround the field. The optimal hemoglobin (Hb) target to aimed at with ESA, the general safety of ESA and boundaries to not be exceeded with iron supplementation are still to be clearly defined. New strategies to stimulate erythropoiesis and new iron molecules have been developed; the most promising approach is the manipulation of the hypoxia-inducible transcription factor (HIF) system. The regulation of activin A pathway is another option with good potential, also considering the additional advantage of increasing bone mass. New iron molecule for intravenous administration may be useful to reduce the number of doses to be administered.
Keywords: activin; anemia; chronic kidney disease; erythropoiesis; erythropoietin; hemoglobin; prolyl hydroxylase inhibitor.