Epobis is a Nonerythropoietic and Neuroprotective Agonist of the Erythropoietin Receptor with Anti-Inflammatory and Memory Enhancing Effects

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The cytokine erythropoietin (EPO) stimulates proliferation and differentiation of erythroid progenitor cells. Moreover, EPO has neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidative effects, but the use of EPO as a neuroprotective agent is hampered by its erythropoietic activity. We have recently designed the synthetic, dendrimeric peptide, Epobis, derived from the sequence of human EPO. This peptide binds the EPO receptor and promotes neuritogenesis and neuronal cell survival. Here we demonstrate that Epobis in vitro promotes neuritogenesis in primary motoneurons and has anti-inflammatory effects as demonstrated by its ability to decrease TNF release from activated AMJ2-C8 macrophages and rat primary microglia. When administered systemically Epobis is detectable in both plasma and cerebrospinal fluid, demonstrating that the peptide crosses the blood-brain barrier. Importantly, Epobis is not erythropoietic, but systemic administration of Epobis in rats delays the clinical signs of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, an animal model of multiple sclerosis, and the peptide has long-term, but not short-term, effects on working memory, detected as an improved social memory 3 days after administration. These data reveal Epobis to be a nonerythropoietic and neuroprotective EPO receptor agonist with anti-inflammatory and memory enhancing properties.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1346390
JournalMediators of Inflammation
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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