A new way to boost red blood cell numbers

January 10, 2008

A common treatment for anemia — a deficiency in red blood cells (rbcs) caused by their insufficient production, excessive destruction, or excessive loss — is administration of recombinant erythropoietin (Epo), a hormone that stimulates the production of rbc precursors by the bone marrow.

Unfortunately, many patients with anemia do not respond to treatment with Epo. However, a new study in mice, by Anne Angelillo-Scherrer and her colleagues at the University Hospital Center and University of Lausanne, Switzerland, has indicated that the protein Gas6 might augment or replace Epo in the treatment of patients who are hyporesponsive or resistant to Epo, respectively.

It was shown that following treatment with Epo, mouse rbc precursors released Gas6, which increased cell signaling in response to Epo treatment. In addition, mice deficient in Gas6 had decreased sensitivity to Epo and a reduced ability to recover from anemia. Administration of Gas6, either alone or in combination with Epo, was successful at treating both chronic and acute anemia in mice.

The authors therefore concluded that Gas6 has a role in rbc formation and might have valuable therapeutic potential for the treatment of individuals with anemia who fail to respond to treatment with Epo.

Source: Journal of Clinical Investigation

Explore further: Scientists test potential new way to treat anemia

Related Stories

Scientists test potential new way to treat anemia

April 11, 2018
Treatment of anemia caused by chronic kidney disease or other diseases often requires repeated—and costly—injections or infusions of an artificial form of the hormone erythropoietin (EPO), which stimulates production ...

Repurposed anti-cholesterol drug could improve treatment-resistant anemias

May 11, 2015
Each year, between 25 and 35 children in the United States and Canada are diagnosed with an inherited bone marrow failure syndrome called Diamond Blackfan anemia (DBA), according to the US Centers for Disease Control and ...

Study reveals why cancer anemia treatment leads to tumor growth

October 15, 2015
Scientists have shown why a drug widely used to treat chemotherapy-induced anemia in ovarian and breast cancer patients also may shorten survival times in some patients by inadvertently stimulating tumor growth.

Scientists identify potential drug target for treatment-resistant anemias

June 9, 2013
Researchers at Whitehead Institute have identified a protein that is the target of glucocorticoids, the drugs that are used to increase red blood cell production in patients with certain types of anemia, including those resulting ...

Human stem cells used to cure renal anemia in mice

September 28, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers with Kyoto University and Kagawa University, both in Japan, has cured renal anemia in mice by injecting them with treated human stem cells. In their paper published in Science Translational ...

Novel RNAi-based therapy for anemia stimulates liver to produce EPO

October 16, 2014
To treat the debilitating anemia associated with reduced erythropoietin (EPO) production by the kidneys in chronic renal disease, patients are often given recombinant human EPO to increase hemoglobin levels. But that treatment ...

Recommended for you

Space-like gravity weakens biochemical signals in muscle formation

May 23, 2018
Astronauts go through many physiological changes during their time in spaceflight, including lower muscle mass and slower muscle development. Similar symptoms can occur in the muscles of people on Earth's surface, too. In ...

Deep space radiation treatment reboots brain's immune system

May 21, 2018
Planning a trip to Mars? You'll want to remember your anti-radiation pills.

Hotter bodies fight infections and tumours better—researchers show how

May 21, 2018
The hotter our body temperature, the more our bodies speed up a key defence system that fights against tumours, wounds or infections, new research by a multidisciplinary team of mathematicians and biologists from the Universities ...

Receptor proteins that respond to nicotine may help fat cells burn energy

May 21, 2018
The same proteins that moderate nicotine dependence in the brain may be involved in regulating metabolism by acting directly on certain types of fat cells, new research from the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute ...

Atomic-level study reveals why rare disorder causes sudden paralysis

May 21, 2018
A rare genetic disorder in which people are suddenly overcome with profound muscle weakness is caused by a hole in a membrane protein that allows sodium ions to leak across cell membranes, researchers at the University of ...

New era for blood transfusions through genome sequencing

May 18, 2018
Most people are familiar with A, B, AB and O blood types, but there are hundreds of additional blood group "antigens" on red blood cells—substances that can trigger the body's immune response—that differ from person to ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.