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Pharmacological action - hematopoietic.
Darbepoetin alfa stimulates erythropoiesis by the same mechanism as endogenous erythropoietin. Darbepoetin alfa contains 5 N-linked carbohydrate chains, while endogenous hormone and recombinant human erythropoietin (rhEPO) have only three chains. Additional sugar residues, from a molecular point of view, do not differ from those present in the endogenous hormone. Due to the increased content of carbohydrates, darbepoetin alfa has a longer half-life in comparison with rhEPO, and, consequently, greater activity in vivo. Despite these changes in molecular structure, darbepoetin alfa retains a very narrow specificity for the erythropoietin receptor.
Erythropoietin is a growth factor that mainly stimulates the production of red blood cells. Erythropoietin receptors can be expressed on the surface of various tumor cells.
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