Purpose of review: The use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) such as erythropoietin and darbepoetin in preterm and term infants has been studied for over 20 years. Recent investigations have explored the potential neuroprotective effects of ESAs. We review the recent clinical trials and experimental animal models that provide evidence in support of using ESA to improve the neurodevelopmental outcomes in term and preterm infants.
Recent findings: Continued work using animal models have confirmed the neuroprotective properties of ESAs, including promotion of oligodendrocyte development in the face of neuronal injury. Clinical studies in term and preterm infants have reported the neuroprotective effects following ESA administration, and improved neurodevelopmental outcomes have been reported in the studies of preterm infants.
Summary: ESAs show great promise in preventing and treating brain injury in term and preterm infants.