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Intensive Care Med. 2011 Sep;37(9):1525-33. doi: 10.1007/s00134-011-2303-4. Epub 2011 Jul 16.

Comparison of carbamylated erythropoietin-FC fusion protein and recombinant human erythropoietin during porcine aortic balloon occlusion-induced spinal cord ischemia/reperfusion injury.

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Abteilung für Thorax- und Gefässchirurgie, Universitätsklinikum, Ulm, Germany.



Recombinant human erythropoietin (rhEPO) attenuated ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury-induced spinal cord damage. Since carbamylated EPO derivatives are stated to be devoid of rhEPO side effects, we tested the hypothesis that a newly developed carbamylated EPO-FC fusion protein (cEPO-FC) would compare favorably with rhEPO.


Anesthetized and mechanically ventilated pigs randomly received cEPO-FC (50 μg kg(-1)), rhEPO (5,000 IU kg(-1)) or vehicle (n = 9 per group) 30 min prior to 30 min of aortic occlusion and over the 4 h of reperfusion. During aortic occlusion, mean arterial pressure (MAP) was maintained at 80-120% of baseline values by esmolol, nitroglycerin, and adenosine-5'-triphosphate (ATP). During reperfusion, noradrenaline was titrated to keep MAP at pre-ischemic levels. Spinal cord function was assessed by motor evoked potentials (MEP) and lower limb reflexes. Tissue damage was evaluated using hematoxylin and eosin, Nissl, and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nick end labeling (TUNEL) staining. Plasma levels of interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-α, and 8-isoprostanes were measured as markers of systemic inflammation and oxidative stress.


While only cEPO-FC restored MEP amplitude to values close to pre-occlusion levels, both cEPO-FC and rhEPO comparably restored lower limb reflexes and reduced the percentage of damaged neurons. Infiltration of mononuclear inflammatory cells was moderate without intergroup difference; positive TUNEL staining was barely detectable in any group. I/R injury increased blood cytokine levels without intergroup difference, whereas both cEPO-FC and rhEPO significantly lowered 8-isoprostane levels.


In a porcine model of aortic balloon occlusion-induced spinal cord I/R injury, cEPO-FC and rhEPO comparably protected against ischemic spinal cord dysfunction and neuronal damage. This effect coincided with attenuated oxidative stress.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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