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Hemodial Int. 2009 Jul;13(3):340-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1542-4758.2009.00367.x. Epub 2009 Jul 3.

Effect of recombinant human erythropoietin on insulin resistance in hemodialysis patients.

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Department of Internal Medicine and Nephrology, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.


Insulin resistance is a characteristic feature of uremia. Insulin resistance and concomitant hyperinsulinemia are present irrespective of the type of renal disease. Treatment with recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) was said to be associated with improvement in insulin sensitivity in uremic patients. The aim of this study was to compare insulin resistance in adult uremic hemodialysis (HD) patients including diabetic patients treated with or without rHuEPO. A total of 59 HD patients were studied, patients were divided into 2 groups of subjects: 30 HD patients on regular rHuEPO treatment (group A), and 29 HD patients not receiving rHuEPO (group B) diabetic patients were not excluded. Full medical history and clinical examination, hematological parameters, lipid profile, serum albumin, parathyroid horomone, Kt/V, fasting glucose, and insulin levels were measured in all subjects. Homeostasis Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR) was used to compare insulin resistance. The results of this study showed that the mean insulin level of HD patients treated with rHuEPO (group A) (17.5 +/- 10.6 microU/mL) was significantly lower than patients without rHuEPO (group B) (28.8 +/- 7.7 microU/mL), (P<0.001). Homeostasis Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance levels in group A were significantly lower than in group B (3.8 +/- 2.97, 7.98 +/- 4.9, respectively, P<0.001). Insulin resistance reflected by HOMA-IR levels among diabetic patients in group A was significantly lower than among diabetic patients in group B (3.9 +/- 3.2, 9.4 +/- 7.2, respectively, P<0.001). Also, HOMA-IR levels among nondiabetic patients in group A were significantly lower than among nondiabetic patients in group B (3.7 +/- 2.85, 6.9 +/- 1.43, respectively, P<0.01). We found a statistically significant negative correlation between duration of erythropoietin treatment, fasting blood glucose, insulin levels, and insulin resistance (r=-0.62, -0.71, and -0.57, P<0.001). Patients treated with rHuEPO showed less insulin resistance compared with patients not treated with rHuEPO in diabetic and nondiabetic patients and, duration of erythropoietin treatment is negatively correlated with insulin levels and insulin resistance in HD patients.

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