Cognitive/behavioral consequences of neonatal hypoxia-ischemia and protection with erythropoietin in a rat model

Date of Completion

January 2006


Biology, Neuroscience|Psychology, Developmental|Psychology, Physiological




Hypoxia-ischemia (or HI) refers to reduced blood oxygenation and/or a diminished amount of blood perfusing the brain, and is associated with premature birth/very low birth weight (VLBW) and/or injuries occurring during term birth (e.g., asphyxiation, placental disruption, prolonged labor and/or resuscitation). HI represents a common cause of injury to the perinatal brain, and injuries during this period of early development are associated with later cognitive/behavioral deficits (including a particularly high incidence of disruptions to language development and memory). Auditory processing deficits, in turn, have been suggested to play a causal role in the development of language impairments. Specifically, the inability to identify fast elements in speech is purported to exert cascading detrimental effects on phonological discrimination, processing, and identification. Within the studies presented here, we explore the cognitive and behavioral deficits associated with HI injury in infants through the use of a neonatal HI injury paradigm in rats coupled with subsequent behavioral evaluation (auditory processing and learning/memory). Finally, the last several studies explore the efficacy of a novel neuroprotectant, erythropoietin, in providing behavioral protection following early HI injury.^