Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents and other methods to enhance oxygen transport

British Journal of Pharmacology
S Elliott

Abstract

Oxygen is essential for life, and the body has developed an exquisite method to collect oxygen in the lungs and transport it to the tissues. Hb contained within red blood cells (RBCs), is the key oxygen-carrying component in blood, and levels of RBCs are tightly controlled according to demand for oxygen. The availability of oxygen plays a critical role in athletic performance, and agents that enhance oxygen delivery to tissues increase aerobic power. Early methods to increase oxygen delivery included training at altitude, and later, transfusion of packed RBCs. A breakthrough in understanding how RBC formation is controlled included the discovery of erythropoietin (Epo) and cloning of the EPO gene. Cloning of the EPO gene was followed by commercial development of recombinant human Epo (rHuEpo). Legitimate use of this and other agents that affect oxygen delivery is important in the treatment of anaemia (low Hb levels) in patients with chronic kidney disease or in cancer patients with chemotherapy-induced anaemia. However, competitive sports was affected by illicit use of rHuEpo to enhance performance. Testing methods for these agents resulted in a cat-and-mouse game, with testing labs attempting to detect the use of a drug or blo...Continue Reading

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Related Concepts

Sports Blood Doping
Erythropoiesis
Erythropoietin
Dioxygen
Proteins, Recombinant DNA
Street Drug Testing
Athletic Performance
Anemia
Blood
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