Erythropoietin (EPO), produced by the kidney and fetal liver, is a cytokine-hormone that stimulates erythropoiesis under hypoxic conditions. It has been shown that EPO is produced in the central nervous system and its receptor is expressed on neurons. Since EPO has neuroprotective effects in vitro and in vivo against brain injury, we investigated the effect of EPO treatment on locomotor activities of animals, survival of nigral dopaminergic neurons and nitrate levels in substantia nigra and striatum in 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-induced animal model of Parkinsonism in C57/BL mice. Our findings suggest that EPO has protective and treating effect in MPTP-induced neurotoxicity in this mouse model of Parkinson's Disease via increasing nitric oxide production. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.