The study examined whether erythropoietin might have a neuroprotective effect and improve functional recovery in rats following an intracerebral hemorrhage, which is a type of stroke.
"This is the first evidence that erythropoietin has a therapeutic effect in hemorrhagic stroke," said study authors Dong-In Sinn, MD, and Jae-Kyu Roh, MD, of the Stroke & Neural Stem Cell Laboratory, Department of Neurology at Seoul National University Hospital.
Erythropoietin was administered to adult rats after they had an intracerebral hemorrhage and then for 4 to 14 days in the test group. Results showed that the size of the hemorrhage was decreased in rats treated with erythropoietin by 25 percent at three days after the stroke, and improvements were seen in brain water content and decreases in damaged cells. The erythropoietin-treated rats also showed greater recovery in behavioral and functional tests.
"Our result suggests that erythropoietin could be a novel drug for treatment of hemorrhagic stroke. It not only reduces inflammation and cell death, but also improves functional recovery after stroke," said Sinn.