Both the endogenous plasma erythropoietin levels and the rate of plasma clearance of injected erythropoietin have been investigated in SJL/J mice that had been rendered leukemic by the injection of Rauscher virus. The results show an elevated level of endogenous erythropoietin coupled with an accelerated rate of erythropoietin clearance. These results are inconsistent with the hypothesis previously suggested by other workers that erythropoietin production is impaired by Rauscher leukemia. As an alternative, it has been proposed that as a result of the leukemia both erythropoietin production and clearance are accelerated to such a degree that very little reserve production capacity remains to allow for additional hormone synthesis in response to the stimuli of extreme anemia or bleeding.
These studies were supported in part by NIH-National Cancer Institute Grant 1P02 Ca 10438-05, and by Atomic Energy Commission Contract AT (11-1)-3097.