Recipients of renal transplants appear to be at increased risk of thromboembolic events. Despite accumulating evidence for the hyperreactivity of platelets, the primary regulator of thrombopoiesis, thrombopoietin (TPO), has not yet been studied in renal transplant recipients. Thus, the aim of the present study was to quantify the levels of TPO and to assess its contribution to increased platelet reactivity in recipients of renal allografts. Serum concentrations of thrombospondin (TSP) were also determined in patients undergoing renal transplants in order to evaluate the role of this multifunctional protein in platelet hyperaggregability. Serum levels of TPO were significantly lower in renal transplant recipients (n = 27) than in healthy controls (30.8 +/- 20.6 pg/ml versus 129.9 +/- 113.6 pg/ml, P = 0.001). Serum concentrations of TPO were correlated neither with serum levels of creatinine nor duration of transplantation. However, levels of TPO were negatively correlated with platelet counts (r = -0.50, P = 0.007) in recipients of renal transplants. Plasma levels of TSP were higher in renal transplant patients than in the control group (104.5 +/- 54.7 ng/ml versus 63.4 +/- 41.5 ng/ml, P = 0.003). No significant correlation was found between Levels of TPO and TSP. We conclude that, rather than the allograft function, the platelet mass determines the levels of TPO in recipients of renal transplants. Despite the low serum levels of TPO, and increased concentrations of TSP, TPO might still play a role in the hyperaggregability of platelets in patients undergoing renal transplants. Blood Coag Fibrinol 10:233-237 (C) 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.