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Hepatic erythropoietin response in cirrhosis. A contemporary review

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The main function of erythropoietin (EPO) is to maintain red blood cell mass, but in recent years, increasing evidence has suggested a wider biological role not solely related to erythropoiesis, e.g. angiogenesis and tissue protection. EPO is produced in the liver during fetal life, but the main production shifts to the kidney after birth. The liver maintains a production capacity of up to 10% of the total EPO synthesis in healthy controls, but can be up-regulated to 90-100%. However, the hepatic EPO synthesis has been shown not to be adequate for correction of anemia in the absence of renal-derived EPO. Elevated circulating EPO has been reported in a number of diseases, but data from cirrhotic patients are sparse and the level of plasma EPO in patients with cirrhosis is controversial. Cirrhosis is characterized by liver fibrosis, hepatic dysfunction and the release of proinflammatory cytokines, which lead to arterial hypotension, hepatic nephropathy and anemia. An increase in EPO due to renal hypoperfusion, hypoxia and anemia or an EPO-mediated hepato-protective and regenerative mechanism is plausible. However, poor hepatic synthesis capacity, a decreasing co-factor level and inflammatory feedback mechanisms may explain a potential insufficient EPO response in end-stage cirrhosis. Finally, the question remains as to whether a potential increase in EPO production in certain stages of cirrhosis originates from the kidney or liver. This paper aims to review contemporary aspects of EPO relating to chronic liver disease.

TidsskriftScandinavian Journal of Clinical & Laboratory Investigation
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)183-9
Antal sider7
StatusUdgivet - maj 2016

ID: 46365958