Erythropoietin (EPO) is a hypoxia-inducible hormone best known for its role in erythropoiesis. However, EPO also has anti-inflammatory and tissue-protective characteristics in multiple organs as summarised in this review. In the brain, EPO is upregulated by hypoxia, regulates ventilation and plays a key role in neuroprotection and neuroplasticity. Systemically administered EPO crosses the blood-brain-barrier, enhances neuroplasticity and improves cognitive functions in several disorders of the brain. Given this evidence, a trial is being planned to investigate whether EPO can improve the physiologic and neurologic outcome of COVID-19.

Bidragets oversatte titelErythropoietin as possible treatment of brain diseases
TidsskriftUgeskrift for Laeger
Udgave nummer44
StatusUdgivet - 26 okt. 2020


  • Betacoronavirus
  • Brain/metabolism
  • Brain Diseases/drug therapy
  • Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy
  • Erythropoietin/therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy


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