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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1998 Dec 9;253(1):26-32.

Erythropoietin prevents place navigation disability and cortical infarction in rats with permanent occlusion of the middle cerebral artery.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, Ehime University School of Medicine, Japan.


Erythropoietin (EPO) prevents the ischemia-induced delayed neuronal death in the hippocampal CA1 field in gerbils. EPO receptor (EPOR) is also expressed in the cerebral cortex but its function is not known. To examine whether EPO has a neuroprotective action in the cortex, EPO was infused into the cerebroventricles of stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats with permanent occlusion of the left middle cerebral artery. Morris water maze test indicated that EPO infusion alleviated the ischemia-induced place navigation disability. The left (ischemic)-to-right (contralateral nonischemic) (L/R) ratio of cerebrocortical area in the EPO-infused ischemic group was larger than that in the vehicle-infused ischemic group. The occlusion caused secondary thalamic degeneration but infusion of EPO prevented the decrease in the L/R ratio of thalamic area and supported neuron survival in the ventroposterior thalamic nucleus. In situ hybridization indicated that EPOR mRNA was upregulated in the periphery (ischemic penumbra) of a cerebrocortical infarct after occlusion of the middle cerebral artery, suggesting that an increased number of EPOR in neurons facilitates the EPO signal transmission, thereby preventing the damaged area from enlarging.

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