Erythropoiesis stimulating agents are widely used for the treatment of anemia. Recently, we reported erythroid expansion with impaired B lymphopoiesis and loss of trabecular bone in C57BL/6 mice following ten days of treatment with low-dose short acting recombinant human erythropoietin. We have assessed erythropoietin against longer-acting darbepoietin-alfa at a comparable erythroid stimulatory dosage regime. Darbepoietin-alfa and erythropoietin induced similar in vivo erythropoietic expansion. Both agents induced an expansion of the colonyforming unit-erythroid populations. However, unlike erythropoietin, darbepoietin-alfa did not impair bone marrow B lymphopoiesis. Strikingly the bone loss observed with erythropoietin was not apparent following darbepoietin- alfa treatment. This analysis demonstrates that whilst darbepoietin-alfa has similar in vivo erythropoietic potency to erythropoietin, it preserves the bone marrow microenvironment. Thus erythropoietin and darbepoietin- alfa manifest different action showing that erythropoiesis stimulating agents have differential non-erythroid effects dependent on their duration of action.