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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1994 Apr 15;718:300-9; discussion 309-11.

Inhibition of erythropoietin production by cytokines. Implications for the anemia involved in inflammatory states.

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Physiologisches Institut I, Universit├Ąt Bonn, Germany.


In patients with the anemia of chronic diseases, the plasma level of EPO is often low in relation to the blood hemoglobin concentration. Because infectious and inflammatory processes cause activation of cytokine-producing macrophages and lymphocytes, we investigated whether isolated inflammatory cytokines influence the synthesis of EPO in vitro. IL-1 and TNF-alpha were shown to inhibit EPO mRNA levels and EPO formation in the human hepatoma cell cultures HepG2 and Hep3B, and to lower EPO formation in isolated perfused rat kidneys. IFN-alpha and IFN-beta also induced some inhibition of EPO production in HepG2 cultures. IL-3, TGF-beta 2, and IFN-gamma did not inhibit. IL-6 stimulated the production of EPO in Hep3B cells but was ineffective in HepG2 cells and lowered EPO production in isolated perfused rat kidneys. IL-1, TNF-alpha, and possibly other cytokines could contribute to defective EPO production in renal and nonrenal immune responses.

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