Project details


Erythropoietin and Cognitive Function in the General Population

cognitive function erythropoietin

prof. dr. S.J.L. Bakker
dr. G.A. Huls
drs. M.F. Eisenga

Nature of the research:
Prospective cohort study

Fields of study:
internal medicine nephrology

Background / introduction
Erythropoietin (EPO) is a cytokine produced in the kidneys which is essential for erythropoiesis. It has been shown that EPO can pass the blood-brain barrier, and that the EPO receptor is being expressed in the brain (1). Moreover, EPO is being produced in the brain after induction of oxidative stress and transcription factor hypoxia inducible factor 1 alfa plays a pivotal role in this process. Furthermore, it has been established that EPO protects neurons against degenerative and ischemic damage (2,3). Finally, it has been shown that exogenous EPO administration diminishes behavior changes induced by degenerative damage (4).

However, it is currently unknown whether serum EPO levels are associated with cognitive capability in community-dwelling subjects.
Research question / problem definition
Are EPO levels in the general population associated with cognitive functioning?
You will learn how to perform statistical analysis in a large dataset and how to write an article. Analyses will be performed in the Prevention of Renal Endstage Disease (PREVEND) study, a prospective population-based cohort consisting of 4185 subjects with data available on EPO levels and cognitive function.

Besides your research clerkship, you will become part of the TransplantLines team. TransplantLines is one of the largest studies ever conducted in transplant recipients, and you will have an important role in coordinating the study, and also with patient contact.

The research clerkship will be finished with a first author research article, and with excellent possibilities to continue in a MD/PhD programme, related to the topic of EPO/iron/red blood cells.
1. Juul SE et al. Pediatr.Res., 1998:43:40-49
2. Digicaylioglu M. et al. PNAS, 1995:92:3717-3720
3. Siren A. et al. PNAS, 2001:98:4044-4049
4. Mogensen J. et al. Behav.Brain Res., 2007:146:1245-1258
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