Summary: The pathophysiology of anemia in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is multifactorial. In order to determine the role of erythropoietin (EPO) response as a cause of the anemia, serum levels were determined by direct radioimmunoassay in 110 symptomatic patients with various stages of HIV infection. Symptomatic patients (ARC and AIDS) not receiving zidovudine (ZDV) therapy demonstrated a strong inverse relationship between serum EPO and hemoglobin levels (p = 0.01 and p < 0.001, respectively). Patients with AIDS who were anemic while receiving ZDV demonstrated serum EPO levels that ranged from normal to markedly elevated (93,390 mU/ml). The diversity of serum EPO levels in patients with HIV infection and anemia suggests that the etiology of anemia in these patients and their potential response to recombinant human EPO may not be uniform.
(C) Lippincott-Raven Publishers.