22 March 2005
Background: Evidence suggests that recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) protects neurons and cardiomyocytes from acute insults. We investigated the protective effect of rHuEPO on cyclosporine (CsA)-induced renal injury. Methods: CsA (15 mg/kg/day) was given to rats for 1 or 4 weeks, and rHuEPO was concurrently administered at a dose of 100 units/kg (thrice weekly). Effects of rHuEPO on CsA-induced renal injury were evaluated with tubulointerstitial fibrosis (TIF) score, macrophage infiltration, expression of proinflammatory and profibrotic cytokines, and apoptotic cell death. Results: Administration of rHuEPO decreased TIF score and the number of macrophages, which increased significantly in CsA-treated rat kidneys. At the molecular level, rHuEPO treatment decreased proinflammatory mediators (osteopontin and C-reactive protein) and profibrotic mediators (transforming growth factor-β1 and transforming growth factor-β1-inducible gene-h3). Increased apoptotic cell death in CsA-treated rat kidneys was significantly decreased with rHuEPO cotreatment, and apoptosis-related genes were regulated in favor of cell survival (increased Bcl-2 and suppressed caspase-3). Conclusion: rHuEPO has a renoprotective effect against chronic CsA-induced renal injury.