It is generally assumed that the O2 supply to the kidneys is the major determinant of the synthesis of erythropoietin (Ep). In the present study, the O2 supply of the kidneys of rats was lowered by the reduction of renal blood flow (rbf). Plasma Ep was determined after about 18 h of bilateral application of Goldblatt clips with graded inner diameters. The results were compared to findings in anemic rats, in which the systemic O2 supply was lowered by exchange transfusion of blood with plasma. We found a linear correlation between Ep levels in plasma and the degree of reduction of rbf. However, there was an exponential relationship between Ep levels and the concentration of hemoglobin in blood. In addition, the elevation of plasma Ep was only moderate, when rbf was reduced (maximum 0.07 IU Ep/ml plasma). The increase in Ep concentration was much more pronounced in anemia (up to about 7 IU Ep/ml plasma). From these results it may be concluded that decreasing oxygen supply to the kidney through reduction in renal blood flow (ischemic hypoxia) is less effective in increasing erythropoictin production than reducing the hemoglobin concentration (anemic hypoxia). The possibility must be considered that the increase in renal production of erythropoietin due to anemic hypoxia is triggered by one or more extrarenal signals.
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Pagel, H., Jelkmann, W. & Weiss, C. A comparison of the effects of renal artery constriction and anemia on the production of erythropoietin. Pflugers Arch. 413, 62–66 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00581229
- Renal artery constriction