Reduced expression of thrombopoietin is involved in thrombocytopenia in human and rat liver cirrhosis

Toru Ishikawa, Takafumi Ichida*, Yasunobu Matsuda, Soichi Sugitani, Motoya Sugiyama, Takashi Kato, Hiroshi Miyazaki, Hitoshi Asakura

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


It is widely accepted that thrombocytopenia associated with liver cirrhosis is caused by increased platelet destruction in the enlarged spleen, but this issue has not yet been analysed sufficiently in terms of platelet production. Thrombopoietin is produced mainly in the liver and strongly promotes platelet production. We studied serum thrombopoietin and the levels of its mRNA in liver tissue of cirrhotic patients and also in a rat model of liver cirrhosis. Furthermore, to clarify the influence of the spleen, we investigated thrombopoietin mRNA in splenectomized rats. The serum thrombopoietin level in humans with liver cirrhosis was not significantly reduced instead of thrombocytopenia. The expression of thrombopoietin mRNA in liver tissue decreased with the progression of liver cirrhosis in both patients and the rat model and no compensatory expression was observed in other organs or nonparenchymal cells. The level of thrombopoietin mRNA did not differ significantly in splenectomized cirrhotic rats before or after administration of dimethylnitrosamine, but was lower than that in splenectomized rats without cirrhosis. We conclude that thrombocytopenia in liver cirrhosis is caused not only by platelet destruction but also by decreased platelet production, perhaps due to reduction of thrombopoietin mRNA in the liver.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)907-913
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Australia)
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Splenectomy
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Thrombopoietin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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