Review Article

Erythropoietin in COVID-19-Induced Neuroinflammation; EPO Plus Losartan Might be Promising


Introduction: Neuroinflammation is the inflammatory reaction in the central nervous system (CNS) provoked by diverse insults. This phenomenon results in a cascade of release of inflammatory mediators and intracellular messengers such as reactive oxygen species. The elicited responses are the cause of many neurological and neurodegenerative disorders. Erythropoietin (EPO) has been considered effective in attenuating this inflammatory process in the CNS, yet its administration in COVID-19 needs meticulously designed studies.
Discussion: Neuroinflammation in COVID-19 due to probable contribution of renin-angiotensin system dysregulation resulting in surplus of Ang II and owing to the synergistic interaction between this octapeptide and EPO needs special consideration. Both of these compounds increase intracellular Ca2+ which may induce release of cytokine and inflammatory mediators leading to aggravation of neuroinflammation. In addition, Ang II elevates HIF even in normoxia which by itself increases EPO. It is implicated that EPO and HIF may likely increase in patients with COVID-19 which makes administration of EPO to these patients hazardous. Furthermore, papain-like protease of SARS-CoV2 as a deubiquitinase may also increase HIF.
Conclusion: It is hypothesized that administration of EPO to patients with COVID-19-induced neuroinflammation may not be safe and in case EPO is needed for any reason in this disease adding of losartan may block AT1R-mediated post-receptor harmful effects of Ang II in synergism with EPO. Inhibition of papain-like protease might additionally decrease HIF in this disease. More in vitro, in vivo and clinical studies are needed to validate these hypotheses.

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IssueVol 6 No 2 (2020) QRcode
SectionReview Article(s)
COVID -19; SARS-CoV2; Calcium; Neuroinflammation; Erythropoietin; Ang II; HIF; papain-like protease; excitotoxicity

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Nejat R, Sadr AS, Najafi D. Erythropoietin in COVID-19-Induced Neuroinflammation; EPO Plus Losartan Might be Promising. jbe. 2020;6(2):143-161.