Characteristics of marrow production and reticulocyte maturation in normal man in response to anemia

J Clin Invest. 1969 Mar;48(3):443-53. doi: 10.1172/JCI106001.


Erythropoiesis in normal man was studied during periods of phlebotomy-induced anemia of varying severity. This study permitted a comparison of marrow production measurements over a wide range of marrow production levels. As long as the serum iron remained above 50 mug/100 ml, measurements of plasma iron turnover provided an excellent index of marrow production at all levels of red cell production. In contrast, the absolute reticulocyte count demonstrated a poor correlation with the other measurements. This was shown to be the result of a prolongation of the time required for circulating reticulocytes to lose their reticulum, which correlated with the severity of the anemia. For the clinical application of the reticulocyte count as a measurement of marrow production, an adjustment must be made for this alteration in the circulating reticulocyte maturation time.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anemia / physiopathology*
  • Bloodletting
  • Bone Marrow / physiology*
  • Bone Marrow Cells*
  • Chromium Isotopes
  • Erythrocyte Aging
  • Erythrocyte Count
  • Erythropoiesis*
  • Hematocrit
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Humans
  • Iron / blood
  • Iron Isotopes
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reticulocytes / physiology*
  • Veins / surgery


  • Chromium Isotopes
  • Iron Isotopes
  • Iron