Erythropoiesis is a dynamic process regulated at multiple levels to balance proliferation, differentiation and survival of erythroid progenitors. Ineffective erythropoiesis is a key feature of various diseases, including β-thalassemia. The pathogenic mechanisms leading to ineffective erythropoiesis are complex and still not fully understood. Altered survival and decreased differentiation of erythroid progenitors are both critical processes contributing to reduced production of mature red blood cells. Recent studies have identified novel important players and provided major advances in the development of targeted therapeutic approaches. In this review, β-thalassemia is used as a paradigmatic example to describe our current knowledge on the mechanisms leading to ineffective erythropoiesis and novel treatments that may have the potential to improve the clinical phenotype of associated diseases in the future.
Keywords: Ineffective erythropoiesis; Red blood cells; Thalassemia.
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