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Erythropoetin

by Greg Crowther


Lyrics

Epo, epo … epo!
(Epo, epo … epo!)
Kidneys talk to … marrow!
(Kidneys talk to … marrow!)

The marrow … has cells that form erythrocytes,
Which are designed just right
To carry O2.
But if … production goes too rapidly,
Then blood viscosity
Could slow the flow-through.

Epo, epo … epo!
(Epo, epo … epo!)
Can’t be too high … or too low!
(Can’t be too high … or too low!)
Oh no!


Comments

A short song about erythropoietin ("epo" for short) written for BIOL 220 at the University of Washington. Epo is a peptide hormone, released from the kidney, that stimulates production of red blood cell (erythrocyte) precursors in the bone marrow. A low density of red blood cells (i.e., low hematocrit) leads to anemia, but an elevated density results in highly viscous, sludge-like blood, as experienced by certain cyclists in the early days of blood doping. Thus, as with many physiological variables, it is dangerous for erythrocyte levels to be either too high or too low.