Time to reconsider extended erythropoietin treatment for infantile traumatic brain injury?

Lauren Jantzie, Nagat El Demerdash, Jessie C. Newville, Shenandoah Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) remains a leading cause of childhood morbidity and mortality worldwide. Most efforts to reduce the chronic impact of pediatric TBI involve prevention and minimization of secondary injury. Currently, no treatments are used in routine clinical care during the acute and subacute phases to actively repair injury to the developing brain. The endogenous pluripotent cytokine erythropoietin (EPO) holds promise as an emerging neuroreparative agent in perinatal brain injury (PBI). EPO signaling in the central nervous system (CNS) is essential for multiple stages of neurodevelopment, including the genesis, survival and differentiation of multiple lineages of neural cells. Postnatally, EPO signaling decreases markedly as the CNS matures. Importantly, high-dose, extended EPO regimens have shown efficacy in preclinical controlled cortical impact (CCI) models of infant TBI at two different, early ages by independent research groups. Specifically, extended high-dose EPO treatment after infantile CCI prevents long-term cognitive deficits in adult rats. Because of the striking differences in the molecular and cellular responses to both injury and recovery in the developing and mature CNS, and the excellent safety profile of EPO in infants and children, extended courses of EPO are currently in Phase III trials for neonates with PBI. Extended, high-dose EPO may also warrant testing for infants and young children with TBI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-215
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Neurology
StatePublished - Aug 2019


  • Biomarkers
  • Cognition
  • Controlled cortical impact
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Neurorepair
  • Pediatric
  • Perinatal brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience


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