Platelets serve as one of the key components of the blood. They play a crucial role in normalizing the function of the body. They are a significant element that control bleeding and the loss of the blood after platelet formation and blood clotting. As a cellular component of blood, they are formed in the bone marrow.

The bone marrow can be considered a place where cellular components of the blood are formed thru stem cells. All of these stem cells have the capacity to become converted into other types of cellular lines and divide themselves as well.

Have you ever wondered how platelets form? What factor that stimulates platelet formation? Take a closer look at the following:

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What is Thrombopoietin?

Thrombopoietin is the factor that stimulates platelet formation. Also called megakaryocyte growth, it is a protein, which is encoded by the Thrombopoietin gene in humans.

Most commonly thrombopoietin is written as THPO. It is a glycoprotein hormone produced by the kidney, bone marrow cells, and liver.

It regulates the good production of platelets in the human body. The development factor (MGDF) achieves this by stimulating the differentiation of megakaryocytes. These are the cells in the bone marrow responsible for producing enough platelets.


Do you know that the liver has special cells to handle the production of Thrombopoietin and other hormones? Yes, it is true. As a matter of fact, this organ acts as the major producer of Thrombopoietin.

Both sinusoidal cells and parenchymal cells of the liver have a big role in producing the hormone. Interleukin also helps the process.

Aside from the liver, Thrombopoietin is produced by the kidney. But they are only in limited amounts. The proximal convoluted tubule cells are responsible for the production in this part.

Likewise, platelets are produced by the bone marrow cells and the striated muscle in limited amounts like the kidney. Therefore, the primary producers of the hormone are the stromal cells and liver in the bone marrow.

Functions of the hormone

Thrombopoietin is responsible for a good level of platelet production in the human blood. The THPO provides instructions for the production of the hormone and division of cells, commonly known as the proliferation of cells.

The protein has the capacity to activate the Thrombopoietin receptor, stimulating signaling pathways that convey powerful chemical signals to the cell’s nucleus.

The utmost importance of the pathways is that they control blood cell production. Thrombopoietin is useful in the maximum production of megakaryocytes. The element that helps produce enough platelets. Platelets are a blood component that cause blood clotting.

What many people do not know about the process is that it can result in the renewal of hematopoietic cells in the bone marrow. When they are renewed, they can become red blood cells, platelets, or even white blood cells. The cellular development stage that leads to platelet formation is Megakaryocyptopoiesis.

Location of the gene

The gene that stimulates Thrombopoietin and platelets production is located on the arm of the chromosome.

However, mutations can take place in the chromosome in some cases, resulting in thrombocytosis. This is a condition whereby the human body has more platelet counts than normal.

In other situations, blood cells and platelets may not be produced. As a result, people suffer from leukemia and other potential health issues.

Difference between Thrombopoietin and ITP

Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP) is an autoimmune disorder that greatly affects the platelets. The human body produces several antibodies that destroy some produced platelets.

In terrible cases, the body may likewise produce antibodies to destroy the platelet that produces hormones. As a result, the platelet production will be abnormal.

All of these antibodies are produced in the bone marrow that results in excessive bleeding. More particularly, the body cannot prevent bleeding by initiating the process of blood clotting.

Normally, the condition affects children. But the good thing is that it can be resolved spontaneously. It requires close and extensive monitoring of platelet counts as a chronic condition. You can say bye to blood disorders, excessive bleeding, and other severe issues.

Thrombopoietin and thrombosis

Thrombosis is the process wherein a blood clot is primarily formed in the blood cells. This typically takes place because of excessive production of platelets and other causes.

Since the amount of platelets depends on Thrombopoietin, the latter has a very significant role in thrombosis.

A growing volume of thrombopoietin in the body will result in a high platelet count. When this is left unresolved for a long time, you will have a high risk to encounter thrombosis development or unusual blood clot. If you see some signs of blood clotting, go to the nearest hospital right away.

In case platelet production is controlled by the amount of Thrombopoietin, thrombosis can perhaps be avoided.

Disorders in thrombopoietin can be hereditary

The Thrombopoietin gene is situated on the long arm of the chromosome. It makes disorders hereditary. This shows that a disorder in the gene may be surprisingly passed from a generation to another.

The Thrombopoietin disorder may result in excessive platelet production, doubling the risk of thrombosis, heart attacks, stroke, and other health issues. Inversely, the production of the blood component may be inhibited by the gene, leading to bleeding cases.

It cannot be used therapeutically

A few patients with a small amount of platelets can undergo a holistic platelet transfusion process. This has been proven to be a very effective solution in many cases.

Despite that, transferring the hormone from one person to another is not possible. In recent years, there have been several trials. However, none of them has been successful. They were all a failure.

Some trials have led to the development of antibodies and thrombocytopenia as well. The lack of this hormone can only be addressed by a platelet transfusion. Most experts continually try and find a solution to activate platelet formation.

There are also peptide analogues tested with other non-peptide ligans. They have been seen to serve as thrombopoietin analogues.

Gene family of the gene

Thrombopoietin genes share a few traits with other genes in the body. They fall under endogenous ligands.

Usually, a gene family is a group of many genes that share common characteristics. But they are still different when it comes to their function. This helps the experts to study the genes by analyzing their relationships.

Thrombopoietin has been an unusual hematopoietic growth factor. It has many features that are not available in other factors. One of its features is that it acts as a regulator of the production of blood cells.

It is used to treat cancer

Even though the majority of research works are ongoing, Thrombopoietin has been a safe way to put an end to cancer. Furthermore, it has been famous to improve platelet recovery of many patients.

The complete use of thrombopoietin in the mobilization of stem cells has shown a reduction in the total number of apheresis.

Potential Clinical uses are as follows:

  • Chemotherapy of acute or solid tumors.
  • Bone marrow transplantation.
  • Chemotherapy of severe leukemia.
  • Radiation therapy
  • Bone marrow failure states and aplastic anemia
  • Thrombocytopenia and ITP of Human Immuno Deficiency Syndrome
  • Harvesting peripheral blood progenitor cells
  • Platelet apheresis

Side Effects

Clinical studies indicate that TPO is tolerated. Some toxicities such as fatigue and flu-like symptoms have not been reported. Below are some potential side effects.

  • Thrombocytosis
  • Marrow fibrosis because of an increase in megakaryocytes.
  • Thrombosis
  • Veno-occlusive disease
  • Interaction with other factors

Clinical trials

  • Solid tumor chemotherapy

The administration of Thrombopoietin was found to be effective and safe. When it was given before chemotherapy, it resulted in the stimulation of platelet production. In the clinical studies, platelet counts became normal quickly and easily.


  • Bone marrow transplantation

Those patients who undergo autologous transplantation thru bone marrow stem cells for cancer experienced an increase in their platelet counts. However, it is not found efficient in the transplantation of peripheral blood stem cell.


  • Delayed recovery

Patients who have undergone the plantation of bone marrow do not recover enough platelet. They remain transfusion dependent within a few days.


  • Does a kidney failure affect Thrombopoietin?

Thrombopoietin is not only produced in bone marrow but also in the kidney. What will happen when your kidney does not function normally? Of course, TPO will not be able to stimulate enough amount of platelet. According to a recent study, patients with cirrhosis reportedly have a low Thrombopoietin.


The same thing goes with a condition in the liver and bone marrow. So, what are you going to do to avoid failures in these body parts? Below are some of the ideas that will be of great help on your part.

How to have a healthy liver?

A healthy liver produces Thrombopoietin, activating the production of platelets. When you recently diagnosed with a health issue in your liver, worry no more as the following tips will help you.

  • Eat a balanced diet

A diet full of saturated fat, high calorie-meals, sugars, and refined carbohydrates greatly affects a healthy liver. If you also eat more undercooked shellfish than what’s recommended, your Thrombopoietin will not do its job well. Why don’t you try to eat enough fiber from fruits, veggies, rice, and cereals? All of these will give you a balanced diet, producing platelets.


  • Avoid toxins

No doubt, toxins are harmful. So, why expose yourself to such things? As much as possible, limit contact with toxins such as insecticides, additives, aerosol products, and additives. If you use aerosols, be sure your room is well-ventilated. You can also wear a mask if the need arises.


  • Drink alcohol responsibly

Alcoholic beverages can create a variety of health problems. For instance, they can damage or even destroy the cells in your liver. However, this does not necessarily mean you will avoid drinking alcohols. All you have to do is to use it responsibly.

How to have a healthy kidney?

Like having a healthy liver, a good diet also plays a crucial role in a disease-free kidney. Kidneys can tolerate an array of dietary habits. Nevertheless, experts point out that many kidney problems arise from other medical conditions including diabetes and high blood pressure. For this reason, it is important to follow moderate or healthy eating habits to protect you from all these diseases. Once you put an end to these issues, you can keep your kidneys in good condition, producing enough platelets.

  • Be careful with herbal remedies and supplements

Herbal extracts and vitamin supplements are good for the body. But when consumed in excessive amounts, they can be harmful to kidneys. Instead of doing the job of a healthcare professional, consult a specialist about the vitamins and herbs that best suit all your needs.


  • Never consider over the counter medications

Non-prescription pills such as naproxen and ibuprofen can cause kidney damage when taken over a long span of time. In case you have healthy kidneys and take medicines for pain, they do not pose a risk. But the case will be different when you consume over the counter medications for arthritis. Instead of doing that, talk to your doctor.

How to have a healthy bone marrow?

Bone marrow is found inside the long bones of your arms and legs. It consists of blood vessels, fat cells, and specialized cells that produce immune cells, clot-forming compounds, and red blood cells as well. It relies on foods that are rich in specific nutrients to keep it healthy and functioning.

If you’re recovering from a bone marrow related illness, take foods that are rich in protein, folic acid, vitamin B-6, minerals, and other nutrients. Integrate meat, fish, dairy foods, vegetables, poultry, whole grains, nuts, seeds, Brussels, broccoli, chickpeas, fortified cereals, milk, and eggs into your diet.

When you see some signs of low platelets, the problem may lie to your kidney, liver, or bone marrow. For you to be sure about the real cause, seek help from a specialist right away. Plus, have a healthy lifestyle. Eat good food and exercise regularly. Moreover, quit your bad habits such as smoking, and drinking alcohols. With that, Thrombopoietin can do its job, and your kidney, liver and bone marrow will produce enough platelets.


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