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A hormone, thought to be produced by the kidneys, that regulates erythropoiesis, at least in higher vertebrates.



a hormone that stimulates the formation of erythrocytes in bone marrow. Characterized as a glycoprotein, erythropoietin has a carbohydrate content of 35 percent. It has a molecular weight of 30,000–40,000 and possesses antigenic properties. Erythropoietin is inactivated by neuraminidase, trypsin, chymotrypsin, and papain.

Erythropoietin was discovered by the French researchers F. Corneau and C. de Flandre in 1906 in rabbit serum that they tested after drawing blood. The hormone is found in low concentrations under normal physiological conditions, but the levels increase when the subject is in a state of hypoxia as a result of the loss of blood, a decrease in the oxygen content of the air, or various forms of anemia. Most scientists believe that erythropoietin is formed in the kidneys. When the hormone acts on stem cells in bone marrow, it causes their differentiation into cells of the erythroid series.


Fedorov, N. A., and M. G. Kakhetelidze. Eritropoetin. Moscow, 1973.
Normal’noe krovetvorenie i ego reguliatsiia. Moscow, 1976.
Gordon, A. S. Regulation of Hematopoiesis, vol. 1. New York [1970].


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