Epo - erythropoietin


Epo = erythropoietin

Erythropoietin (Epo) belongs to the group of glycoprotein hormones and is produced in the kidneys. From there it is transported via the blood to the red bone marrow, where it triggers the formation of new erythrocytes. In medicine, Epo is used in renal insufficiency (decreased erythrocyte concentration in the blood) applied. Epo can now be produced genetically.


If there is insufficient oxygen in the blood during sporting activities, EPO biosynthesis (erythropoietin) is activated. Epo is largely formed in the kidneys. At the Epo- doping external supply leads to an increase in the erythrocyte concentration. This leads to an improved oxygen transport capacity and increased endurance. Epo is actually used by patients with anemia to produce red blood cells. The application of Epo doping has that Blood doping largely replaced. Epo caused negative headlines, especially in cycling. The increase in performance is similar to that of conventional blood doping. In a healthy athlete, taking Epo (Erythropoietin) an increase in Hemoglobin value, as well as an increase in the hematocrit value. The Heart rate at submaximal exercise was decreased and the maximal oxygen uptake improved. This increases the exercise time up to physical exhaustion.

side effect

The taking of Epo As with all other doping substances, this leads to negative feedback, i.e. after the treatment there is a reduction in performance below the initial level. This is due to the reduction in the body's own Epo production. In order to be able to continuously maintain endurance capacity, one must Epo consequently be taken consistently.

With long-term use of Epo there is a risk of thrombosis, as high blood pressure and increase in blood viscosity.

Verification procedure

Epo has been on the doping list since 1988, but the verification process is still very difficult. There Epo (Erythropoietin) am Hemoglobin level and Hematocrit value is made fat, it is questionable to what extent an increased measured value was achieved by external supply. In the meantime, measurement methods are available that can precisely determine an Epo misuse. However, this test procedure is associated with a high level of technical effort. French researchers have succeeded in determining the differences in the carbohydrate proportions so that the body's own erythropoietin could be distinguished from external erythropoietin. Both the urine sample and the concentration of hemoglobin and hematocrit in the blood are analyzed. This method was first used by the Olympic Games 2000 in Sydney.
First will be hemoglobin and Hematocrit measured in blood. If the values ​​are noticeably high, a urine sample will follow.
In 2001 came an erythropoietin-like active ingredient called Darbepoetin alpha on the market, the chemical structure of which is similar to that of the Epo. Shortly before the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, however, a method was developed to also detect this active ingredient. In 1200 tests carried out, 7% of the tested athletes had a positive result, including gold medal winners.