Erythropoietin (EPO)

Erythropoietin (EPO)

Epoietin or darbepoietin is produced via recombinant techniques from the human erythropoietin (EPO). It acts in a similar manner as its natural biological template hormone. EPO binds to the EPO-receptor (a tyrosine kinase receptor). Upon binding, the signal transduction pathway is initiated and induces gene transcription in the nucleus. This results in stimulation of cell division rates and differentiation of erythroid progenitor cells. In this manner, EPO accelerates the red blood cell maturation and the rate of hemoglobin synthesis.


The main indication for the use of EPO is anemia due to chronic renal failure or chemotherapy. Adverse effects of EPO include flu-like symptoms and increase in blood pressure, volume and viscosity. Together with the treatment with EPO, iron suppletion is useful.

Beware of EPO abuse by athletes and cyclists! Hypertension and thrombosis are dangerous complications with the use of EPO, when the hematocrit rises too rapidly.


The route of EPO administration is…