Background: The usefulness of sustained-release erythropoietin for improving left ventricular (LV) function without polycythemia was evaluated in a rat chronic myocardial infarction model.
Methods and results: Four weeks after left coronary artery ligation, 50 Sprague-Dawley rats were assigned to 5 groups (n=10, each). Control group had a gelatin sheet (20x20 mm) containing saline applied to the infarct area, whereas the 4 treatment groups had gelatin sheets incorporating erythropoietin 0.1 U, 1 U, 10 U and 100 U, respectively. Endpoint measurements performed at 8 weeks after the coronary ligation revealed that the fractional area change was larger for erythropoietin 1 U and 10 U than in the other 3 groups. The LV end-systolic elastance and the time constant of isovolumic relaxation were better for erythropoietin 1 U and 10 U than in the other 3 groups. The density of vessels larger than 50 microm in diameter was the highest in the erythropoietin 1 U group. The number of red blood cells was significantly increased in groups receiving erythropoietin 10 U and 100 U.
Conclusions: Gelatin hydrogel sheets incorporating 1 U erythropoietin improved LV function without inducing polycythemia in a rat chronic myocardial infarction model.