Twenty five years ago, Finch summarized knowledge gained primarily from studies of normal individuals, patients with hereditary hemolytic anemias, and patients with hemochromatosis . Under conditions of basal erythropoiesis in normal subjects, plasma iron turnover (as an index of marrow erythropoietic response) is little affected, whether transferrin saturation ranges from very low to very high levels. In contrast, the erythropoietic response in individuals with congenital hemolytic anemia, in whom erythropoiesis is chronically raised up to sixfold over basal levels , is affected (and limited) by serum iron levels and by transferrin saturation . Patients with hemochromatosis who underwent serial phlebotomy were observed to mount erythropoietic responses of up to eightfold over basal rates, attributed to the maintenance of very high serum iron and transferrin saturation levels in these patients , whereas normal individuals were shown to have difficulty providing sufficient iron to support rates of erythropoiesis greater than three times basal rates . These observations led Finch to identify a "relative iron deficiency" state, also known as "functional iron deficiency," which he defined as circumstances in which increased erythron iron requirements exceed the available supply of iron . In another clinical setting, patients undergoing autologous blood donation represent a model for perisurgical blood loss and the erythropoietic response. Insights gained over the last 20 years regarding the relationship between erythropoietin, iron, and erythropoiesis, along with implications for clinical management, will be reviewed.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.exphem.2007.01.026
View details for PubMedID 17379103