Erythropoietin enhances neurogenesis and restores spatial memory in rats after traumatic brain injury

J Neurotrauma. 2005 Sep;22(9):1011-7. doi: 10.1089/neu.2005.22.1011.


Erythropoietin (EPO) is neuroprotective in models of stroke and traumatic brain injury (TBI) when administered prior to or within the first few hours after injury. We seek to demonstrate that EPO also has neurorestorative effects when administered late (i.e., 1 day) after TBI in the rat. Twelve rats were subjected to TBI. Six rats were treated with EPO daily for 14 days starting 1 day after injury, and an additional six rats were treated with saline. Bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) was administered daily for 14 days. Memory tests using a Morris Water Maze were performed prior to and after injury and treatment. Animals were sacrificed at 15 days after TBI, and their brains were prepared for histological analysis of damage to the dentate gyrus (DG) and for evaluation of newly formed neurons using double labeling of BrdU and MAP-2. The data revealed a significant improvement in spatial memory and significant increase in the number of newly formed neurons with EPO treatment compared with control animals. These data suggest that EPO treatment initiated 1 day after TBI is neurorestorative by enhancing neurogenesis, as well as neuroprotective.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Injuries / pathology
  • Brain Injuries / therapy*
  • Dentate Gyrus / drug effects
  • Dentate Gyrus / pathology
  • Erythropoietin / therapeutic use*
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Memory / drug effects
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Nerve Regeneration / drug effects*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Spatial Behavior / drug effects*


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Erythropoietin