Erythropoietin exerts neuroprotective effect in neonatal rat model of hypoxic-ischemic brain injury

Brain Dev. 2003 Oct;25(7):494-8. doi: 10.1016/s0387-7604(03)00039-1.


Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy seen in survivors of perinatal asphyxia is a frequently encountered and a major clinical problem for which there is currently no effective treatment. Hematopoietic neuroprotective agents, such as erythropoietin (EPO) may rescue neurons from cell death in this setting. EPO is a cytokine hormone that has neuroprotective effect in vitro and in vivo. In this study, we evaluated the effect of posthypoxic EPO administration in an animal model of neonatal hypoxic-ischemic injury. Our results show that a single intracerebroventricular injection of EPO immediately after hypoxic-ischemic insult in neonatal rat model of hypoxic-ischemia reduced the extent of hypoxic-ischemic brain damage. The mean infarct volume assessed 7 days after hypoxia was significantly smaller in EPO-treated group than in the control group. These findings suggest that EPO may provide benefit after hypoxic-ischemic events in the developing brain, a major contributor to static encephalopathy and cerebral palsy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Brain Injuries / drug therapy*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Erythropoietin / therapeutic use*
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / drug therapy*
  • Injections, Intraventricular
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Erythropoietin