A re-assessment of erythropoietin as a neuroprotective agent following rat spinal cord compression or contusion injury

Alberto Pinzon, Alexander Marcillo, Diego Pabon, Helen M. Bramlett, Mary Bartlett Bunge, W. Dalton Dietrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Scopus citations


This study was initiated due to an NIH "Facilities of Research - Spinal Cord Injury" contract to support independent replication of published studies that appear promising for eventual clinical testing. We repeated a study reporting the beneficial effects of recombinant human erythropoietin (rhEPO) treatment after spinal cord injury (SCI). Moderate thoracic SCI was produced by two methods: 1) compression due to placement of a modified aneurysm clip (20 g, 10 s) at the T3 spinal segment (n=45) [followed by administration of rhEPO 1000 IU/kg/IP in 1 or 3 doses (treatment groups)] and 2) contusion by means of the MASCIS impactor (n = 42) at spinal T9 (height 12.5 cm, weight 10 g) [followed by the administration of rhEPO 5000 IU/kg/IP for 7d or single dose (treatment groups)]. The use of rhEPO following moderate compressive or contusive injury of the thoracic spinal cord did not improve the locomotor behavior (BBB rating scale). Also, secondary changes (i.e. necrotic changes followed by cavitation) were not significantly improved with rhEPO therapy. With these results, although we cannot conclude that there will be no beneficial effect in different SCI models, we caution researchers that the use of rhEPO requires further investigation before implementing clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-136
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2008



  • BBB analysis
  • Erythropoietin
  • Neuroprotection
  • Rat
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)

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