Fifty patients treated with chronic hemodialysis (HD) were observed for 1 year. 24 of them (48%) did not require treatment with recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEpo) (group I) because the permanent hemoglobin (Hb) concentration was > 5.9 mmol/l (9.5 g/dl), hematocrit > 30%. The remaining 26 patients (group II) permanently or periodically required rHuEpo treatment. After 6 months of initial observation and after 6 months of clinical study we made a comparison of endogenous erythropoietin(Epo) and iron status in two groups of patients. Patients not requiring treatment with rHuEpo had statistically significant higher Epo concentration and lower iron reserves than patients on rHuEpo treatment. We did not find significant differences in Hb, albumin and creatinine between patients in both groups. Hb concentration did not correlate with the level of Epo, serum creatinine, transferrin saturation, ferritin, iron reserves and time of dialysis therapy in both groups. In both groups we found a significant negative correlation between the concentration of Epo and iron stores. Our results indicate that in patients on HD treatment, plasma Epo level appears to depend either directly or indirectly on iron status.

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