An Intranasal Formulation of Erythropoietin (Neuro-EPO) Prevents Memory Deficits and Amyloid Toxicity in the APPSwe Transgenic Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease.J Alzheimers Dis. 2017; 55(1):231-248.JA
Erythropoietin (EPO) is a cytokine known to have effective cytoprotective action in the brain, particularly in ischemic, traumatic, inflammatory, and neurodegenerative conditions. We previously reported the neuroprotective effect of a low sialic form of EPO, Neuro-EPO, applied intranasally in rodent models of stroke or cerebellar ataxia and in a non-transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here we analyzed the protective effect of Neuro-EPO in APPSwe mice, a reference transgenic mouse model of AD. Mice were administered 3 times a day, 3 days in the week with Neuro-EPO (125, 250 μg/kg) intranasally, between 12 and 14 months of age. Motor responses, general activity, and memory responses were analyzed during and after treatment. The deficits in spontaneous alternation, place learning in the water-maze, and novel object recognition observed in APPSwe mice were alleviated by the low dose of Neuro-EPO. Oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, trophic factor levels, and a synaptic marker were analyzed in the hippocampus or cortex of the animals. The increases in lipid peroxidation or in GFAP and Iba-1 contents in APPSwe mice were significantly reduced after Neuro-EPO. Activation of intrinsic and extrinsic apoptotic pathways was analyzed. The increases in Bax/Bcl-2 ratio, TNFα, or Fas ligand levels observed in APPSwe mice were reduced by Neuro-EPO. Finally, immunohistochemical and ELISA analyses of Aβ1-42 levels in the APPSwe mouse cortex and hippocampus showed a marked reduction in Aβ deposits and in soluble and insoluble Aβ1-42 forms. This study therefore confirmed the neuroprotective activity of EPO, particularly for an intranasally deliverable formulation, devoid of erythropoietic side effects, in a transgenic mouse model of AD. Neuro-EPO alleviated memory alterations, oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, apoptosis induction, and amyloid load in 14-month-old APPSwe mice.