Serum erythropoietin in anaemic and non-anaemic patients with liver cirrhosis

M. Sartori, S. Andorno, S. Colombi, G. La Terra, F. Leone, G. Antonini, L. Ciardi, E. Inglese, M. Aglietta

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Erythropoietin (EPO), primarily produced by the kidney, is the principal factor regulating the red blood cell production. The logarithm of EPO blood level inversely correlates with haemoglobin (Hb) level. Inappropriately low EPO levels have been observed in chronic inflammatory anemias. Aim of our study was to evaluate whether serum EPO levels in liver cirrhosis were appropriate to Hb levels. Forty-two cirrhotic patients (24 men and 18 women, mean age 62.2 ± 12.7, 18 anaemic and 24 non-anaemic) and 68 non-cirrhotic subjects (32 men and 36 women, mean age 60.2 ± 15, 25 anaemic and 43 non-anaemic) were studied. Cirrhotic patients without anaemia had serum EPO levels (mean serum EPO = 17.8 ± 13.9 U/L) higher than those of the normal subjects (mean serum EPO = 10.7 ± 5 U/L, P = 0.004, 2.34-11.98). A significant negative correlation was found between Hb concentration and the logarithm of serum EPO for both cirrhotic patients (r = -0.816, P <0.0001) and non-cirrhotic subjects (r = -0.7, P <0.0001). However the regression lines for cirrhotic and non-cirrhotic had different slope (F = 5.55, P <0.02), but the difference of y-intercept did not reach statistical significance (F = 3.21, P = 0.076). Patients with liver cirrhosis without anaemia have EPO levels higher than non cirrhotic subjects. When anaemia occurs in cirrhotic patients, EPO levels rise, although with a blunted slope in comparison with non cirrhotic patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-22
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Internal Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • Anaemia
  • Cirrhosis
  • Erythropoietin
  • Liver

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Internal Medicine


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