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Neuroprotective effects of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents in term and preterm neonates

Messier, Amber M.; Ohls, Robin K.

Current Opinion in Pediatrics: April 2014 - Volume 26 - Issue 2 - p 139–145
doi: 10.1097/MOP.0000000000000077
NEONATOLOGY AND PERINATOLOGY: Edited by Richard A. Polin and Tara M. Randis

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.

Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

Correspondence to Robin K. Ohls, MD, Department of Pediatrics, MSC10 5590, 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001, USA. Tel: +1 505 272 6410; fax: +1 505 272 1539; e-mail:

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins