The number of apoptotic cells in the jejunal tissue determined by TUNEL staining in sham-operated animals, vehicle-treated I/R animals, and I/R animals treated with EPO five minutes before ischemia and at the onset of reperfusion. Results are expressed as mean TUNEL positive nuclei/observed field ± S.E.M. (n = 5–7 per group). *P < 0.001 vs sham; **P < 0.01 vs vehicle-treated I/R animals (one-way ANOVA followed by Tukey’s post-test). Note that there is a significant decrease in the TUNEL-positive cells in EPO treated I/R animals compared with the vehicle treated I/R animals. Sham; intestinal I/R was not induced, I/R; intestinal I/R, EPO + I/R; rHuEPO administered five minutes before ischemia, I + EPO + R; rHuEPO administered onset of reperfusion.