PURPOSE:In addition to its hematopoietic effects, EPO has protective effects in vivo in several animal models of acute renal injury. We examined whether EPO also attenuated renal injury in a rat model of cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity via anti-apoptotic and anti-inflammatory actions. METHODS:Male SpragueDawley rats were divided into four groups: control rats, EPO+control rats, cisplatin rats, and EPO+cisplatin rats. EPO treatment was started 24 h prior to cisplatin administration. Then, 96 h after cisplatin administration, all experimental animals were killed. And renal molecular, functional and structural parameters were measured. RESULTS:The serum levels of BUN and creatinine in the 96 h after cisplatin administration were significantly lower than in cisplatin rats. On microscopic examination, the magnitude of renal tubular epithelial damage in the EPO+cisplatin rats was also significantly less than that of cisplatin rats. Renal expression of TNF-alpha Fas, MCP-1 and TGF-betain the cisplatin rats was significantly higher than those of control rats and EPO+control rats. The levels of TNF-alpha Fas, MCP-1 and TGF-betagene expression in EPO+cisplatin rats were significantly lower than those of cisplatin rats. The Bcl-2 mRNA level in EPO+cisplatin rats was significantly higher than in cisplatin rats. EPO+cisplatin rats had significantly fewer TUNEL-positive cells. CONCLUSION:These results suggest that EPO has a protective effect against experimental cisplatin- induced renal injury and that the anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic properties of EPO may be involved.