Treatment of mild traumatic brain injury with an erythropoietin-mimetic peptide

J Neurotrauma. 2013 May 1;30(9):765-74. doi: 10.1089/neu.2012.2431. Epub 2012 Sep 20.


Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) results in an estimated 75-90% of the 1.7 million TBI-related emergency room visits each year. Post-concussion symptoms, which can include impaired memory problems, may persist for prolonged periods of time in a fraction of these cases. The purpose of this study was to determine if an erythropoietin-mimetic peptide, pyroglutamate helix B surface peptide (pHBSP), would improve neurological outcomes following mTBI. Sixty-four rats were randomly assigned to pHBSP or control (inactive peptide) 30 μg/kg IP every 12 h for 3 days, starting at either 1 hour (early treatment) or 24 h (delayed treatment), after mTBI (cortical impact injury 3 m/sec, 2.5 mm deformation). Treatment with pHBSP resulted in significantly improved performance on the Morris water maze task. Rats that received pHBSP required 22.3±1.3 sec to find the platform, compared to 26.3±1.3 sec in control rats (p=0.022). The rats that received pHBSP also traveled a significantly shorter distance to get to the platform, 5.0±0.3 meters, compared to 6.1±0.3 meters in control rats (p=0.019). Motor tasks were only transiently impaired in this mTBI model, and no treatment effect on motor performance was observed with pHBSP. Despite the minimal tissue injury with this mTBI model, there was significant activation of inflammatory cells identified by labeling with CD68, which was reduced in the pHBSP-treated animals. The results suggest that pHBSP may improve cognitive function following mTBI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Concussion / drug therapy*
  • Brain Concussion / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Erythropoietin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Oligopeptides / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Recovery of Function / drug effects*


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Oligopeptides
  • Erythropoietin
  • cibinetide