Erythropoiesis: Insights into pathophysiology and treatments in 2017

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Erythropoiesis is a tightly-regulated and complex process originating in the bone marrow from a multipotent stem cell and terminating in a mature, enucleated erythrocyte. Altered red cell production can result from the direct impairment of medullary erythropoiesis, as seen in the thalassemia syndromes, inherited bone marrow failure as well as in the anemia of chronic disease. Alternatively, in disorders such as sickle cell disease (SCD) as well as enzymopathies and membrane defects, medullary erythropoiesis is not, or only minimally, directly impaired. Despite these differences in pathophysiology, therapies have traditionally been non-specific, limited to symptomatic control of anemia via packed red blood cell (pRBC) transfusion, resulting in iron overload and the eventual need for iron chelation or splenectomy to reduce defective red cell destruction. Likewise, in polycythemia vera overproduction of red cells has historically been dealt with by non-specific myelosuppression or phlebotomy. With a deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying disease pathophysiology, new therapeutic targets have been identified including induction of fetal hemoglobin, interference with aberrant signaling pathways and gene therapy for definitive cure. This review, utilizing some representative disorders of erythropoiesis, will highlight novel therapeutic modalities currently in development for treatment of red cell disorders.




Zivot, A., Lipton, J. M., Narla, A., & Blanc, L. (2018, March 23). Erythropoiesis: Insights into pathophysiology and treatments in 2017. Molecular Medicine. BioMed Central Ltd.

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