Protective effects of erythropoietin in experimental spinal cord injury by reducing the C/EBP-homologous protein expression

Zhenghua Hong, Huaxing Hong, Haixiao Chen, Zhangfu Wang, Dun Hong
Neurological Research 2012, 34 (1): 85-90

OBJECTIVES: Erythropoietin (EPO) is a variety of tissue-protective functions, including spinal cord. This study aimed to determine the neuron protective effect of erythropoietin on spinal cord injury (SCI) by assessing C/EBP-homologous protein (CHOP) in the development of a rat model of SCI.

METHODS: Sixty Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly assigned to three groups: sham-operation control group, SCI group, and EPO treatment group. By using a weight-drop contusion SCI model, the rats in the SCI group and EPO treatment group were killed at 1 and 7 days subsequently. The Basso, Beattie, and Bresnahan (BBB) scores were examined for locomotor function. Pathological changes were observed after hematoxylin-eosin (H&E) staining. The expression of CHOP was determined by immunohistochemical staining and RT-PCR analysis.

RESULTS: BBB scores showed more quick recovery in the erythropoietin treatment group than that in the SCI group (P < 0.01). Pathological changes also revealed a reduction in the volume of cavitations and more neurons regeneration in the EPO treatment rats than that of the SCI rats. The number of CHOP positive cells in the SCI group on day 1 and 7 days after SCI increased compared with the erythropoietin treatment group and sham-operation control group (P < 0.01). CHOP mRNA folds in sham-operation control rat from 1 to 7 days showed the same trend.

CONCLUSIONS: Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress was triggered at the early stage of SCI. Increased expression of CHOP can be found in the injured segment of the spinal cord after injury. EPO treatment could prevent pathological alterations from severe spinal cord injury by reducing expression of CHOP.

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