Annals of Hematology

, Volume 65, Issue 6, pp 265–268

Iron stores and serum transferrin receptor levels during recombinant human erythropoietin treatment of anemia in rheumatoid arthritis


  • G. Vreugdenhil
    • Department Internal Medicine, Division of HematologyUniversity Hospital Nijmegen
  • B. Manger
    • Institute of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology Department Medicine IIIMedical School Erlangen
  • C. Nieuwenhuizen
    • Department RheumatologyDr. Daniel Den Hoed Clinic
  • R. A. Feelders
    • Department Chemical Pathology, Medical FacultyErasmus University
  • H. G. van Eijk
    • Department Chemical Pathology, Medical FacultyErasmus University
  • A. J. G. Swaak
    • Department RheumatologyDr. Daniel Den Hoed Clinic
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF01836071

Cite this article as:
Vreugdenhil, G., Manger, B., Nieuwenhuizen, C. et al. Ann Hematol (1992) 65: 265. doi:10.1007/BF01836071


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.

Key words

ErythropoietinRecombinant human ery thropoietinAnemiaRheumatoid arthritisIron storesTransferrin receptor

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992