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Am J Gastroenterol. 1999 Jul;94(7):1918-22.

Serum thrombopoietin levels in patients with chronic hepatitis and liver cirrhosis.

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Second Department of Internal Medicine, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, Shizuoka, Japan.



Thrombocytopenia is a common manifestation of cirrhosis. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between serum thrombopoietin concentrations, circulating platelet levels, and the stage of hepatic fibrosis in patients with chronic viral hepatitis.


The study included 48 patients with chronic viral hepatitis (14 with stage 1 fibrosis; five with stage 2 fibrosis; three with stage 3 fibrosis; 26 with cirrhosis) and 30 healthy volunteers. Serum thrombopoietin levels were measured using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Spleen size, platelet counts, and prothrombin time were measured.


Thrombopoietin levels of patients with fibrosis stage 1 (2.50 +/- 1.60 fmol/ml) or stage 2 (1.89 +/- 0.65) were significantly higher than those in patients with cirrhosis (1.21 +/- 0.55) or healthy volunteers (1.26 +/- 0.74). Mean platelet counts of patients with cirrhosis (8.0 +/- 4.6 x 10(4)/microl) were significantly lower than those with fibrosis stage 1 (18.6 +/- 3.9) or stage 2 (16.0 +/- 5.8), or healthy volunteers (24.5 +/- 7.3). Patients with cirrhosis had larger spleens (30.9 +/- 18.4 cm2) than those with fibrosis stage 1 (18.2 +/- 6.4). Platelet counts showed a significant inverse relationship to spleen size (p = -0.51, p < 0.0005) and a significant positive relationship with thrombopoietin levels (p = 0.34, p < 0.02). Thrombopoietin levels were significantly correlated to prothrombin time (p = 0.45, p < 0.005).


Serum thrombopoietin levels are elevated in patients with an early stage of chronic viral hepatitis. As the disease progresses from mild fibrosis to cirrhosis, decreased production of thrombopoietin may contribute to the further development of thrombocytopenia in cirrhosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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