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Clinical science
Feasibility of intravitreal erythropoietin injections in humans
  1. W A Lagrèze,
  2. N Feltgen,
  3. M Bach,
  4. T Jehle
  1. Department of Ophthalmology, University Hospital Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Professor W Lagrèze, Universitäts-Augenklinik, Killianstr. 5, 79106 Freiburg, Germany; mail{at}


Background/aims: Preclinical data suggest that intravitreally administered erythropoietin (EPO) is both neuroprotective and safe. In a small pilot series, we intended to assess the feasibility of intravitreal EPO injections in humans.

Methods: Three patients with acute vascular occlusion of the posterior pole received a single intravitreal EPO injection of 2000 U. Immediately before the injection and over the ensuing 3 months, these patients were closely monitored by measuring visual acuity, visual fields, intraocular pressure, the electroretinogram, the haematocrit and serum EPO levels.

Results: Over the observational period, most parameters remained unchanged except for a short-term rise of serum EPO levels, which, however, did not exceeded normal serum levels. No injection-related toxicity was observed.

Conclusion: Based on this limited set of data, a single EPO injection of 2000 U, a dose adapted from previous in vivo studies, is feasible and seems to induce no obvious damage. Hence, further investigations of this therapeutic approach appear justified.

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the Local Review Board, University Hospital Freiburg.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.