Erythropoietin enhances hippocampal response during memory retrieval in humans.

Erythropoietin enhances hippocampal response during memory retrieval in humans. 

Miskowiak K, O’Sullivan U, Harmer CJ.


Journal of Neuroscience 2007 Mar 14;27(11):2788-92.


Although erythropoietin (Epo) is best known for its effects on erythropoiesis, recent evidence suggests that it also has neurotrophic and neuroprotective properties in animal models of hippocampal function. Such an action in humans would make it an intriguing novel compound for the treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders. The current study therefore aimed to explore the effects of Epo on neural and behavioral measures of hippocampal function in humans using a functional magnetic resonance imaging paradigm. Volunteers were randomized to receive intravenous injection of Epo (40,000 IU) or saline in a between-subjects, double-blind, randomized design. Neural response during picture encoding and retrieval was tested 1 week later. Epo increased hippocampus response during picture retrieval (n = 11) compared with placebo (n = 12; p = 0.04) independent of changes in hematocrit. This is consistent with upregulation of hippocampal BDNF and neurotrophic actions found in animals and highlights Epo as a promising candidate for treatment of psychiatric disorders.

Erythropoietin improves place learning in fimbria-fornix-transected rats and modifies the search pattern of normal rats.

Mogensen J, Miskowiak K, Sørensen TA, Lind CT, Olsen NV, Springborg JB, Malá H.


Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior. 2004 Feb;77(2):381-90.


The acquisition of a water-maze-based allocentric place learning task was studied in four groups of rats: two groups subjected to bilateral transections of the fimbria-fornix and two groups undergoing a sham control operation. At the moment of surgery all animals were given one systemic (intraperitoneal) injection of either human recombinant erythropoietin (EPO) (at a dosage of 5000 IU/kg body weight), given to one of the fimbria-fornix-transected groups and one of the sham-operated groups, or vehicle (saline), given to the two remaining groups. The 25-day task acquisition period (one session/day) began 6 or 7 days after the day of surgery. The fimbria-fornix-transected and saline-injected group exhibited a pronounced and long-lasting impairment of task acquisition. In contrast, the fimbria-fornix-transected and EPO-treated group demonstrated a less pronounced and more transient lesion-associated impairment. The two sham-operated groups did not differ with respect to the proficiency of task acquisition. But administration of EPO to intact animals caused a significant modification of swim patterns-apparently reflecting a somewhat modified strategy of task solution. It is concluded that systemic administration of EPO significantly improves the posttraumatic functional recovery of the presently studied place learning task after transections of the fimbria-fornix. Additionally, administration of EPO influences the strategy, although not quality, of task solution in normal (sham-operated) rats.