Erythropoietin produced by the retina: Its role in physiology and diabetic retinopathy

Cristina Hernández, Rafael Simó

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Erythropoietin (Epo) is the principal regulator of erythropoiesis by inhibiting apoptosis and by stimulating the proliferation and differentiation of erythroid precursor cells. However, Epo also performs extra-erythropoietic actions of which the neuroprotective effects are among the most relevant. Apart from kidney and liver, Epo is also produced by the brain and the retina. In addition, Epo receptor (Epo-R) expression has also been found in the brain and in the retina, thus suggesting an autocrine/paracrine action which seems essential for the physiological homeostasis of both brain and retina. In this review, we will give an overview of the current concepts of the physiology of Epo and will focus on its role in the retina in both normal conditions and in the setting of diabetic retinopathy. Finally, the reasons as to why Epo could be contemplated as a potential new treatment for the early stages of diabetic retinopathy will be given. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-226
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2012


  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Erythropoietin
  • Erythropoietin receptor
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Neuroprotection
  • Retina


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