Ten rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients with anemia of chronic disorders (ACD) were treated with recombinant human erythropoietin (r-Hu-Epo) using a dose of 250 U/kg s.c. 3 times a week for 6 weeks, in order to evaluate its effects on the anemia, iron stores, and serum-soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR) levels. All patients showed a rise in hemoglobin (Hb). Median Hb increased from 5.9 (5.5-7.0) at baseline to 6.7 (5.8-7.8) at 3 weeks and to 7.2 (5.9-8.5) mmol/l at 6 weeks during treatment. Ferritin levels decreased significantly during the 6 weeks, and five patients were iron deficient after 6 weeks of treatment. TfR levels increased significantly at 3 and 6 weeks during treatment. These preliminary findings may indicate that r-Hu-Epo is effective in improving ACD in RA. The sTfR rise may be explained by an increase in erythroid precursor cell mass or increased TfR expression and a decrease in tissue iron stores, although direct effects of Epo on TfR regulation cannot be excluded. Large double-blind studies with r-Hu-Epo in patients with RA and ACD are warranted.

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doi.org/10.1007/BF01836071, hdl.handle.net/1765/66979
Annals of Hematology
Department of Clinical Chemistry

Vreugdenhil, G., Manger, K., Nieuwenhuizen, C., Feelders, R., van Eijk, H., & Swaak, A. (1992). Iron stores and serum transferrin receptor levels during recombinant human erythropoietin treatment of anemia in rheumatoid arthritis. Annals of Hematology, 65(6), 265–268. doi:10.1007/BF01836071