Erythropoietin is neuroprotective in models of HIV sensory neuropathy

Sanjay C. Keswani, Gerhard J. Leitz, Ahmet Hoke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


HIV-associated sensory neuropathy (HIV-SN) is the most common neurological complication of HIV infection. Presently, there are no effective therapies for this painful neuropathy. The pathology of HIV-SN is characterized by 'dying back' sensory axonal degeneration and a more modest loss of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) sensory neurons. It has been hypothesized that HIV-SN results from neurotoxicity by secreted viral proteins, such as the HIV envelope glycoprotein gp120. Furthermore, neurotoxicity by dideoxynucleoside (DDX) agents, results in the observed higher incidence of HIV-SN in HIV-infected patients taking these antiretroviral drugs. In this study we show that administration of picomolar amounts of the hormone erythropoietin (EPO) prevents sensory axonal degeneration and in vitro DRG neuronal death by both gp120 and ddC (a neurotoxic DDX drug). Our results suggest that EPO may be useful in the treatment of HIV-SN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-105
Number of pages4
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Nov 23 2004


  • Axonal degeneration
  • EPO
  • Erythropoietin
  • HIV neuropathy
  • Neuroprotection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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