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Pediatr Res. 2013 Jan;73(1):18-23. doi: 10.1038/pr.2012.139. Epub 2012 Oct 19.

Hypothermia and erythropoietin for neuroprotection after neonatal brain damage.

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Department of Neonatology, Wilhelmina Children's Hospital, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.



Both hypothermia and erythropoietin (EPO) are reported to have neuroprotective effects after perinatal hypoxia-ischemia (HI). We investigated a possible additive effect of the use of a combination of hypothermia-EPO in a rat model of neonatal HI.


At postnatal day 7, rats were subjected to HI and then randomized to 3 h of hypothermia, EPO, or both. Sensorimotor function was assessed by the cylinder-rearing test (CRT) at 2 and 5 wk after HI. Brain lesion volume and white matter loss were determined by hematoxylin-eosin and luxol fast blue staining, respectively.


Multivariable analysis using general linear modeling showed that hypothermia, EPO, and the interaction hypothermia × gender were determinants of sensorimotor function, both at 2 and 5 wk after HI. Neuroprotective effects of hypothermia at 5 wk were more pronounced in females, showing 52% improvement in the CRT. Maximal improvement in males was 26% after combined treatment with hypothermia and EPO. Histological outcome was improved by hypothermia only with no additional effect of EPO or gender.


Hypothermia after HI improved sensorimotor function in females more than in males. There was a borderline additive effect of EPO when combined with hypothermia. Histology of brain lesion volume and white matter damage was improved only by hypothermia.

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