Background: Erythropoietin (EPO) upregulates the mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade, a central signaling pathway in cellular plastic mechanisms, and is critical for normal brain development.
Objective: We hypothesized that EPO could modulate the plasticity mechanisms supporting spatial memory recovery in fimbria-fornix-transected animals.
Methods: Fimbria-fornix was transected in 3 groups of rats. Seven days later, EPO was injected daily for 4 consecutive days within 10 minutes after training on a water maze task.
Results: Our results show that EPO injections 10 minutes after training produced a substantial spatial memory recovery in fimbria-fornix-lesioned animals. In contrast, an EPO injection shortly after fimbria-fornix lesion surgery does not promote spatial-memory recovery. Neither does daily EPO injection 5 hours after the water maze performance. EPO, on the other hand, induced the expression of plasticity-related genes like arc and bdnf, but this effect was independent of training or lesion.
Conclusions: This finding supports our working hypothesis that EPO can modulate transient neuroplastic mechanisms triggered by training in lesioned animals. Consequently, we propose that EPO administration can be a useful trophic factor to promote neural restoration when given in combination with training.
Keywords: BDNF; erythropoietin; fimbria-fornix lesion; neural plasticity.
© The Author(s) 2015.