Erythropoietin, a cytoprotective and regenerative cytokine, and the hypoxic brain

Neurodegener Dis. 2006;3(1-2):87-93. doi: 10.1159/000092098.


Hypoxia and ischemia in the brain often result in brain dysfunctions and neuronal death during both the neonatal and adult periods. Though the mechanisms contributing to brain injury secondary to hypoxia-ischemia are more clearly defined, there are still no pharmacological treatments available to reduce cell death in the ischemic brain. This review highlights the beneficial effects of hypoxia-inducible factors, such as the transcriptional factor hypoxia-inducible factor-1 and its target genes, as both cytoprotective and regenerative factors, and focuses in particular on one of the most well-known: erythropoietin. Altogether, the data presented in this review suggest that further insights into the role of hypoxia-inducible factors would help develop promising strategies to improve the outcome of hypoxia/ischemia-related brain pathologies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Erythropoietin / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia, Brain / pathology
  • Hypoxia, Brain / physiopathology*
  • Hypoxia, Brain / therapy
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology*
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Stem Cell Transplantation


  • Erythropoietin