[Erythropoietin as possible treatment of brain diseases]

Ugeskr Laeger. 2020 Oct 26;182(44):V04200287.
[Article in Danish]


Erythropoietin (EPO) is a hypoxia-inducible hormone best known for its role in erythropoiesis. However, EPO also has anti-inflammatory and tissue-protective characteristics in multiple organs as summarised in this review. In the brain, EPO is upregulated by hypoxia, regulates ventilation and plays a key role in neuroprotection and neuroplasticity. Systemically administered EPO crosses the blood-brain-barrier, enhances neuroplasticity and improves cognitive functions in several disorders of the brain. Given this evidence, a trial is being planned to investigate whether EPO can improve the physiologic and neurologic outcome of COVID-19.

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain Diseases* / drug therapy
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Drug Treatment
  • Coronavirus Infections* / drug therapy
  • Erythropoietin* / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Pandemics*
  • Pneumonia, Viral* / drug therapy
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • Erythropoietin