R-HuEPO hyporesponsiveness--who and why?

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 1995;10 Suppl 2:69-73. doi: 10.1093/ndt/10.supp2.69.


The most common cause of limited response to recombinant human erythropoietin (r-HuEPO) is unrecognized, mild-to-moderate iron deficiency, either at the start of treatment or secondary to enhanced iron utilization by newly formed erythrocytes. Iron stores in patients with chronic renal failure (CRF) are often depleted through gastrointestinal bleeding, blood loss during haemodialysis, and blood sampling. Mobilization of iron stores may be inadequate, especially during rapid haemoglobin regeneration. Aluminium overload may also interfere with gastrointestinal and cellular iron uptake. Overt or unrecognized infection or inflammation is another common cause of hyporesponsiveness, and is a consequence of increased blood concentrations of cytokines such as tumour necrosis factor (TNF), interleukin-1 (IL-1), and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), which suppress erythrocyte stem-cell proliferation. Less common causes include severe secondary hyperparathyroidism and myeloma (during chemotherapy). Response to r-HuEPO can be best predicted by baseline fibrinogen (a marker of subclinical inflammation); baseline transferrin receptor (sTfR) concentrations (a marker of functional iron deficiency); and sTfR increment after 2 weeks (a marker of early change in erythropoietic activity).

MeSH terms

  • Aluminum / poisoning
  • Anemia / therapy*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Drug Interactions
  • Erythropoietin / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Iron Deficiencies
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Sepsis / blood


  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Erythropoietin
  • Aluminum