Background: Erythropoietin (Epo) improves post-traumatic cerebral blood flow (CBF), pressure autoregulation, and vascular reactivity to l-arginine. This study examines the dependence of these cerebral hemodynamic effects of Epo on nitric oxide generated by endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS).
Methods: Using laser Doppler flow imaging, CBF was monitored in wild-type (WT) and eNOS-deficient mice undergoing controlled cortical impact followed by administration of Epo (5000 U/kg) or normal saline.
Results: Cerebral blood flow decreased in all groups post-injury with the greatest reductions occurring at the impact site. Epo administration resulted in significantly higher CBF in the peri-contusional sites in the WT mice [70.2 ± 3.35% in Epo-treated compared to 53 ± 3.3% of baseline in saline-treated mice (p < 0.0001)], but no effect was seen in the eNOS-deficient mice. No CBF differences were found at the core impact site where CBF dropped to 20-25% of baseline in all groups.
Conclusion: These differences between eNOS-deficient and WT mice indicate that the Epo mediated improvement in CBF in traumatic brain injury is eNOS dependent.
Keywords: cerebral blood flow; erythropoietin; neuroprotection; nitric oxide; nitric oxide synthase; traumatic brain injury.