Erythropoietin is a hormone released by the kidneys in response to low oxygen levels in the blood to stimulate production of red blood cells in the bone marrow. Erythropoietin levels enable your doctor to differentiate between anemia caused by bone marrow malfunction and hemolytic anemias caused by kidney failure (where the kidney fails to produce enough EPO), and cancer of the kidneys or adrenal glands. Erythropoietin is also given to people who are anemic as a result of chemotherapy, in order to stimulate the production of new RBCs within the bone marrow.
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