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Anemia in Older Adults

Anemia Cell

Many older adults with chronic disease experience anemia, which often accompanies inflammation and chronic disease states. Inflammatory mediators interfere with production and survival of red blood cells. Low hemoglobin puts older adults with anemia at risk for a number of poor outcomes, including functional decline, disability, and even death. It is not clear whether these risks are the direct result of reduced oxygen delivery to peripheral tissues or whether anemia is a sensitive biological marker of more systemic decline. 

Research focus

Researchers hope to improve the quality of medical care for older adults by developing better methods for the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of anemia. Researchers use mouse models, in vitro erythroid differentiation models, and population-based studies to accomplish these goals.

Projects require investigation in several areas of research, including production and survival of erythrocytes, systemic iron metabolism, and the development of inflammation in aging and chronic disease states.

Current research studies

Regulation of erythropoiesis in inflammation and frailty
This project investigates the role of macrophages in the regulation of erythropoiesis in mouse models of chronic inflammatory states and aging.

Mouse models of anemia of inflammation and aging
This project investigates the individual roles of interleukin-6 and hepcidin antimicrobial peptide in the pathogenesis of anemia associated with chronic inflammation and aging.

Mechanisms of anemia associated with chronic inflammation and aging in mice
This project investigates the effect of anemia on the physical impairment of aged mice.


Richard Semba, MD, MPH
David Sullivan, MD
Jeremy Walston, MD
Paulo Chaves, MD, PhD