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Lancet. 1990 Feb 3;335(8684):247-9.

Erythropoietin, aluminium, and anaemia in patients on haemodialysis.

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  • 1Fourth Department of Medicine, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland.


Effects of erythropoietin treatment on haem synthesis in peripheral blood were evaluated in 11 patients on haemodialysis. After 2 weeks of erythropoietin, mean (SEM) uroporphyrinogen-l synthase activity increased significantly from 88 (10) to 116 (9) pmol/h per mg protein. Haem synthase activity, thought to be the rate-limiting step in erythroid haem synthesis, also showed a significant increase from 4.5 (0.8) to 8.4 (1.8) pmol/h per 10(6) reticulocytes. 4 patients, who showed only a partial response to erythropoietin, had significantly higher serum aluminium concentrations than the 7 who responded fully (225 [44] vs 55 [23] micrograms/l); erythrocyte protoporphyrin concentrations in partial responders were also much higher than in responders (973 [120] vs 388 [29] nmol/l). Aluminium intoxication may cause resistance to erythropoietin by interference with haem synthesis, with accumulation of protoporphyrin.

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