Research ArticleANEMIA

Vasopressin stimulates the proliferation and differentiation of red blood cell precursors and improves recovery from anemia

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Science Translational Medicine  29 Nov 2017:
Vol. 9, Issue 418, eaao1632
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aao1632

The body’s stop-gap solution for anemia

Vasopressin is an antidiuretic hormone, whose best known functions are to promote water retention and maintain fluid balance. However, it also has other effects, and Mayer et al. discovered that these include stimulation of red blood cell maturation. By studying human patients with central diabetes insipidus (vasopressin deficiency) and a rat model that lacks vasopressin, the authors determined that this hormone acts in concert with erythropoietin but on a shorter time scale. Erythropoietin stimulates red blood cell production starting with early progenitors, which takes time, whereas vasopressin promotes maturation of intermediate red blood cell precursors and thus allows rapid recovery after blood loss while the new cells stimulated by erythropoietin are still maturing.

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