Combined therapeutic strategy using erythropoietin and mesenchymal stem cells potentiates neurogenesis after transient focal cerebral ischemia in rats

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2008 Sep;28(9):1552-63. doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.2008.40. Epub 2008 May 14.


Many studies showed beneficial effects of either erythropoietin (EPO) or mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) treatment in cerebral ischemia. In addition to a neuroprotective role, not only EPO but also MSC favors neurogenesis and functional recovery. In an attempt to further improve postischemic tissue repair, we investigated the effect of a systemic administration of MSC, in the presence or not of EPO, on neurogenesis and functional recovery in a transient focal cerebral ischemia model in the adult rat. Twenty-four hours after ischemia, the rats were divided into four groups, namely vehicle, MSC, EPO, and MSC+EPO, and received a single intravenous injection of MSC (2 x 10(6) cells) and/or a repeated intraperitoneal administration of EPO (1,000 UI/kg) for 3 days. The lesion volume, the MSC outcome, neurogenesis, and functional recovery were assessed 51 days after ischemia. The results showed that cellular proliferation and neurogenesis were increased along the lateral ventricle wall in the MSC+EPO group, whereas no significant effect was observed in groups receiving MSC or EPO alone. This effect was accompanied by an improvement of mnesic performances. Mesenchymal stem cells expressing neuronal or glial markers were detected in the ischemic hemisphere. These results suggest that EPO could act in a synergistic way with MSC to potentiate the postischemic neurogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Erythropoietin / administration & dosage
  • Erythropoietin / pharmacology*
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / therapy*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology
  • Neuroglia / cytology
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Rats
  • Recombinant Proteins


  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Erythropoietin