Erythropoietin (EPO) has neuroprotective effects in many models of damage and disease of the nervous system where neuroinflammation plays a substantial role, including experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), the animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS). Since the first pioneering studies, in which EPO was shown to protect rats with acute EAE mainly by inhibiting inflammation, many other studies have pointed out other mechanisms of protection, including oligodendrogenesis and inhibition of axonal damage.
Here we review the preclinical studies in which EPO has shown therapeutic efficacy in several models of EAE in mice and rats. Moreover, we report in detail the protocol to administer EPO to mice with myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)-induced chronic progressive EAE, and a representative result. In this model, EPO inihibits the clinical score of the disease when administered according to a preventive but also to a therapeutic schedule, and therefore at disease onset, suggesting that it might not only inhibit inflammation but also actively stimulate repair.
Neuroinflammation Demyelination Neuroprotection Animal model Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein
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This work was realized as part of the TC2N “Trans Channel Neuroscience Network” Interreg IV A 2 Mers Seas Zeeëns program, “Investing in your future” crossborder cooperation programme 2007–2013 part financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund).
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