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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2004 Feb;77(2):381-90.

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

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Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen, Amager, Njalsgade 88, DK-2300 S, Copenhagen, Denmark.


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.

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