Erythropoietin is a hormone whose main function is to maintain a constant concentration of red blood cells in the blood. Normally, red blood cells are destroyed and created at a steady, balanced rate.
However, if there is a drop in its levels, the body releases erythropoietin. This hormone stimulates the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells.
Your name comes from Greek roots erythrowhat does it mean red; AND poieinwhat does it mean Do. Therefore, its etymological meaning would be something like “make red”, i.e. erythrocytes or red blood cells.
Erythropoietin is also commonly known as EPO. It is also called epoetin. Previously, it was known as hematopoietin. Between 85 and 90% is produced by the kidney. The rest, i.e. between 10 and 15%, is generated in the liver and salivary glands.
Discovery and history of erythropoietin
Although blood has been studied since ancient times, it was only in the 19th century that its origin and function were understood. The discoverer of hemoglobin it was Felix Hoppe-Seyler. For his part, Ernst Neumann discovered that blood was formed in the marrow.
In 1893, Friedrich Miescher indicated that red blood cells form when there is a decrease in oxygen in the marrow. It wasn’t until 1905 when Paul Carnot and his assistant Clotilde Deflandre hypothesized that a hormone regulates the production of erythrocytes or red blood cells.
Subsequently, KR Reissman and Allan J. Ersle confirmed the existence of such a hormone. From this, they started implementing a new treatment for anemia. John Adamson and Joseph W. Eschbach confirmed the mechanism of hormone production. In the mid-1980s, erythropoietin managed to be synthesized in the laboratory.
production and function
The main function of erythropoietin is to accelerate the process of production and maturation of red blood cells. They manage to increase the percentage of these in the blood. Red blood cells are the cells that are primarily responsible for carrying oxygen to other cells in the body.
When the oxygen supply is reduced, the sensors stimulate the production of erythropoietin from the kidneys. In particular, in the peritubular cells of the renal cortex. A small part is also produced by the liver.
This process causes the red blood cell volume to return to its normal state. As, there is always an inverse relationship between EPO values and hemoglobin values.
Approximately two hundred billion red blood cells are generated every day. However, the production of these is not the only function of erythropoietin. Also this hormone was found in neurons, myocardial cells, in astrocytes and microglial cells. In the Central Nervous System it prevents the death of neurons. The matter is still under investigation.
Medical uses and doping
Erythropoietin is produced biotechnologically. It is generally used to treat anemia in dialysis patients.. In them there is an alteration in blood formation due to failure of their kidneys. Its use is frequent even after very aggressive chemotherapy cycles, in cancer patients.
One of the more controversial uses of erythropoietin is by athletes. This substance is prohibited in sporting competitions. It is considered a form of doping. This is because if the athlete receives injections of erythropoietin, the concentration of his red blood cells immediately increases.
The effect is that the muscles receive more oxygen, from the same amount of blood. Thus, the performance is artificially increased. Muscles work more efficiently and the onset of fatigue is slowed down. In sports that require a high level of endurance, the consumption of erythropoietin enhances the athletes’ abilities.
Only after 2000 was a method created to detect the abnormal presence of EPO in the blood. It should be noted that even very high levels of red blood cells cause serious risks. Eventually, they could cause thrombosis, cerebrovascular accident, coronary artery obstruction, or hypertension.
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