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Erythropoietin Stimulates GABAergic Maturation in the Mouse Hippocampus

Authors: Khalid, Kasifa; Frei, Julia; Aboouf, Mostafa A.; Koester-Hegmann, Christina; Gassmann, Max; Fritschy, Jean-Marc; Schneider Gasser, Edith M.

Online: http://eneuro.org/lookup/doi/10.1523/ENEURO.0006-21.2021

Issue: eNeuro . 2021 Feb 11;8(1):ENEURO.0006-21.2021.


Several neurodevelopmental disabilities are strongly associated with alterations in GABAergic transmission, and therapies to stimulate its normal development are lacking. Erythropoietin (EPO) is clinically used in neonatology to mitigate acute brain injury, and to stimulate neuronal maturation. Yet it remains unclear whether EPO can stimulate maturation of the GABAergic system. Here, with the use of a transgenic mouse line that constitutively overexpresses neuronal EPO (Tg21), we show that EPO stimulates postnatal GABAergic maturation in the hippocampus. We show an increase in hippocampal GABA-immunoreactive neurons, and postnatal elevation of interneurons expressing parvalbumin (PV), somatostatin (SST), and neuropeptide Y (NPY). Analysis of perineuronal net (PNN) formation and innervation of glutamatergic terminals onto PV+ cells, shows to be enhanced early in postnatal development. Additionally, an increase in GABAAergic synapse density and IPSCs in CA1 pyramidal cells from Tg21 mice is observed. Detection of EPO receptor (EPOR) mRNA was observed to be restricted to glutamatergic pyramidal cells and increased in Tg21 mice at postnatal day (P)7, along with reduced apoptosis. Our findings show that EPO can stimulate postnatal GABAergic maturation in the hippocampus, by increasing neuronal survival, modulating critical plasticity periods, and increasing synaptic transmission. Our data supports EPO’s clinical use to balance GABAergic dysfunction.