Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

In cell culture, hypoxia stabilizes a transcriptional complex called hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) that increases erythropoietin (Epo) formation. One hallmark of HIF-1 responses is that they can be induced by iron chelation. The first aim of this study was to examine whether an infusion of desferrioxamine (DFO) increased serum Epo in humans. If so, this might provide a paradigm for identifying other HIF-1 responses in humans. Consequently a second aim was to determine whether an infusion of DFO would mimic prolonged hypoxia and increase the acute hypoxic ventilatory response (AHVR). Sixteen volunteers undertook two protocols: 1) continuous infusion of DFO over 8 h and 2) control. Epo and AHVR were measured at fixed times during and after the protocols. The results show that 1) compared with control, Epo increased in most subjects at 8 h [52.8 +/- 57.7 vs. 6.9 +/- 2.5 (SD) mIU/ml, for DFO = 4 g/70 kg body wt, P < 0.05] and 12 h (63.7 +/- 76.3 vs. 7.3 +/- 2.5 mIU/ml, P < 0.001) after the start of DFO administration and 2) DFO had no significant effect on AHVR. We conclude that, whereas infusions of DFO mimic hypoxia by increasing Epo, they do not mimic prolonged hypoxia by augmenting AHVR.

Original publication




Journal article


J Appl Physiol (1985)

Publication Date





680 - 686


Acute Disease, Adolescent, Adult, Carbon Dioxide, Carotid Body, Deferoxamine, Erythropoietin, Female, Humans, Hypoxia, Infusions, Intravenous, Male, Middle Aged, Respiratory Mechanics