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      Calcitriol Increases Burst-Forming Unit-Erythroid Proliferation in Chronic Renal Failure

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          Background: Calcitriol (C) improves anemia in chronic renal failure. This effect may be related to the suppression of iPTH release, or to a direct effect on erythropoiesis. Methods: Thirty-three patients with chronic renal failure were enrolled; among them, 24 were on chronic hemodialysis and 9 on conservative management. None had other chronic or hematological disease, aluminum levels were below 20 µg/l and DFO testing was negative. The iPTH range was 250–480 pg/l. None were treated with C or r-HuEpo. In vitro study: Samples were drawn for a basal erythroid precursor (burst forming unit-erythroid BFU-E) study: Mononuclear cells were incubated for 14 days with r-HuEpo 3U/ml (A), r-HuEpo 3U/l + C 30 pg (B), r-HuEpo 3U/ml + C 300 pg (C), or r-HuEpo 30 U/ml + C 300 pg (D). In vivo study: After the basal evaluation, 10 patients on chronic dialysis were treated with C (Calcijex-Abbott) 1 µg three times a week, and 4 patients served as controls. BFU-E studies were performed after 1, 2 and 4 months. Results: In vitro, culture B showed increased BFU-E proliferation vs. A (41 ± 23 vs. 27 ± 15, p < 0.02); in cultures C and D, proliferation was 61 ± 31 and 78 ± 42, respectively, p < 0.01 vs. A. There was no difference among patients with predialysis renal failure and those on dialysis. BFU-E proliferation was inversely related to basal Hb (p < 0.04) and CRP levels (p < 0.05). During the in vivo study, all cultures showed a progressive increase in proliferation without a plateau level (basal, after 1, 2 and 4 months, respectively) In A: 17 ± 8, 22 ± 13, 30.9 ± 14.9, 41.4 ± 20; in B: 27.3 ± 15, 35.6 ± 20, 45.5 ± 21, 57 ± 26; in C: 48.2 ± 20.6, 63.7 ± 32, 75.7 ± 37, 83 ± 40; in D: 72 ± 24, 91 ± 42, 106 ± 42, 110 ± 42.3 (all p < 0.001). Hb and Hct showed a significant increase (p < 0.03) in the treatment group. The decrease in iPTH was not related to BFU-E proliferation. Conclusions: In chronic uremia, C has a direct effect on erythroid precursors proliferation, as demonstrated both in vitro and in vivo, with a synergistic effect with r-HuEpo. C may be a useful adjuvant therapy to r-HuEpo treatment.

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          Effect of serum parathyroid hormone and bone marrow fibrosis on the response to erythropoietin in uremia.

          Anemia is common in patients with chronic renal insufficiency and secondary hyperparathyroidism. Erythropoietin therapy is effective, but the dose required varies greatly. One possible determinant of the efficacy of erythropoietin therapy is the extent of marrow fibrosis caused by hyperparathyroidism. We examined the relation between the erythropoietic response to erythropoietin and hyperparathyroidism in a cross-sectional study of 18 patients undergoing hemodialysis who had received erythropoietin therapy for one to three years. In 7 patients (the poor-response group), the dose of intravenous erythropoietin needed to maintain a mean (+/- SD) target hematocrit of 35 +/- 3 percent was > 100 units per kilogram of body weight three times a week, and in 11 patients (the good-response group) it was < or = 100 units per kilogram. In all patients, indexes of the adequacy of dialysis and the extent of hyperparathyroidism and aluminum toxicity were determined monthly, and bone histomorphometry was performed. The mean (+/- SD) dose of erythropoietin required to maintain the target hematocrit was 174 +/- 33 units per kilogram three times a week in the poor-response group and 56 +/- 18 units per kilogram in the good-response group. The mean ages, duration and adequacy of dialysis, increment in hematocrit, iron requirements, and serum concentrations of calcium, phosphate, and aluminum were similar in the two groups. The percentages of osteoid volume and surface, the osteoid thickness, and the stainable aluminum content of bone were similar in the two groups. In contrast, the mean serum parathyroid hormone concentration, the percentages of osteoclastic and eroded bone surfaces, and the degree of marrow fibrosis were greater in the poor-response group than in the good-response group (P = 0.03, P = 0.04, P = 0.009, and P = 0.009, respectively). In patients with uremia, the dose of erythropoietin needed to achieve an adequate hematocrit response may depend on the severity of secondary hyperparathyroidism and the extent of bone marrow fibrosis.
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            Pathogenesis and treatment of anaemia of chronic disease.

             Günter Weiss (2002)
            Anaemia of chronic disease (ACD), the most frequent anaemia among hospitalized patients, develops under chronic inflammatory disorders such as chronic infections, cancer or autoimmune diseases. A number of different pathways contribute to ACD, such as diversion of iron traffic, a diminished erythropoiesis, a blunted response to erythropoietin, erythrophagocytosis and bone marrow invasion by tumour cells and pathogens. Nevertheless, ACD is a reflection of an activated immune system and possibly results from an innovative defence strategy of the body in order to withdraw the essential growth factor iron from invading pathogens and to increase the efficacy of cell-mediated immunity. Diagnosis of ACD can be assessed by examination of chances in serum iron parameters with low to normal serum iron, transferrin saturation and transferrin concentrations on the one hand and normal to increased ferritin, zinc protoporphyrin IX and cytokine levels on the other side. Therapy of ACD includes the cure of the underlying the disease. Apart from this transfusions for rapid correction of haemoglobin levels, and human recombinant erythropoietin for prolonged therapy are used. However, response rates to recombinant erythropoietin are sometimes low. Iron alone should be strictly avoided due to its growth-promoting effect towards micro-organisms and tumour cells and because of it capacity to inhibit T-cell-mediated immune effector pathways. We urgently need prospective clinical trials to gain knowledge about the effects of anaemia correction and/or the use of erythropoietin towards the course of the underlying disease, to find out if a combination therapy with erythropoietin and iron may be beneficial in ACD and to define therapeutic end-points.
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              Role of cytokines in the response to erythropoietin in hemodialysis patients.

              Cytokines are regulatory factors of erythropoiesis, especially in pathologic conditions. Even though a relevant role for a deranged cytokine production in the pathogenesis of dialysis anemia has been suggested, no data are available that analyze the role of cytokines in the key therapeutic issue of the needs of erythropoietin. The aim of the present study in hemodialysis patients was, therefore, to examine the relationship between the dose of recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO) and the production of cytokines by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). After the exclusion of subjects with major active causes of EPO resistance, data from 34 hemodialysis patients were available for analysis. Cytokine levels were measured in the supernatants of stimulated [with bacterial lipopolysaccharide and interferon gamma (IFN-gamma)] and unstimulated PBMC. Mean yearly values of hematocrit, hemoglobin, transferrin saturation, ferritin, parathormone (PTH) and aluminum levels and EPO doses (U/kg/week) were calculated. For analysis, the 34 patients were divided according to their cutoff requirements for EPO: patients with requirements of EPO > or = 60 U/kg/week (group A1, 26 subjects) versus EPO or = 100 U/kg/week (group A2, 18 subjects) versus <100 U/kg/week (group B2, 16 subjects). A significant direct correlation between interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a) production values and EPO doses was found (P = 0.039 and P = 0.02 respectively). On the other hand, there was a significantly negative correlation between interleukin-12 (IL-12) production values and EPO doses (P = 0.029). Patients of groups A1 and A2 had spontaneously higher tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and lower IL-12 and IFNgamma production compared to patients from groups B1 and B2. Our data disclose a previously undescribed pattern of cytokine alteration that is relevant to determine increased needs of EPO in hemodialysis patients. The present results have potential applicability in designing strategies to improve EPO resistance.

                Author and article information

                Nephron Clin Pract
                Nephron Clinical Practice
                S. Karger AG
                December 2003
                17 November 2004
                : 95
                : 4
                : c121-c127
                aDepartment of Nephrology and Dialysis, and bDepartment of Haematology, IRCCS ‘Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza’, San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy
                74837 Nephron Clin Pract 2003;95:c121–c127
                © 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 5, References: 23, Pages: 1
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                Original Paper

                Cardiovascular Medicine, Nephrology

                Erythropoietin, Erythroid precursor, Calcitriol, Anemia, Chronic uremia


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