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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 1346390, 11 pages
Research Article

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

1Laboratory of Neural Plasticity, Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
2Research Laboratory for Stereology and Neuroscience, Bispebjerg-Frederiksberg Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark
3Juliane Marie Centret, Rigshospitalet (Copenhagen University Hospital), Copenhagen, Denmark

Received 2 May 2016; Revised 26 August 2016; Accepted 15 September 2016

Academic Editor: Mirella Giovarelli

Copyright © 2016 Oksana Dmytriyeva et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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.