Anemia is a common complication of chronic kidney disease (CKD) associated with disease progression and increased mortality. This anemia is mainly due to inadequate production of erythropoietin (EPO) by the failing kidneys, resulting from the reduction in renal EPO‐producing cells (REPC) or from dysregulation of the hypoxia‐inducible factor (HIF) system that regulates several genes related to hypoxia, angiogenesis, fibrosis and glucose metabolism, among others. In this chapter, we present a review on the HIF system in CKD‐anemia, the HIF response to erythropoiesis‐stimulating agents (ESA) therapy and its potential involvement in the development of ESA resistance by enhancing kidney fibrosis and inflammation. Due to concerns related to ESA use, new drugs to correct anemia are under study, being the prolyl hydroxylase inhibitors the most promising candidates.
Part of the book: Hypoxia and Human Diseases