The doping-drug Epo has an impact in the brain

Sportsmen and women dope with the blood hormone Epo to enhance their performance. Researchers from the University of Zurich now discovered by animal testing that Epo has a performance-enhancing effect in the brain shortly after injection and not only after days by improving oxygen transport in blood. As Epo also increases motivation, it could be useful in treating depression.

The well-known blood hormone Epo is not only used for medicinal purposes; some athletes misuse it for doping. It boosts the number of , thereby increasing the transport of oxygen to the muscles. This leads to improvements in performance, which can especially give endurance athletes such as cyclists or the edge.

Epo has immediate impact on exercise performance

In a recently published study, Max Gassmann, a veterinary physiologist from the University of Zurich, proved that Epo also drastically increases motivation in the brain as soon as it has been injected, without the number of red blood cells increasing.

Gassmann's team tested exercise performance of differently treated mice, studying genetically modified mice that produce human Epo solely in the brain and mice that the researchers had injected with Epo and the hormone reached the brain thus by blood. Both mouse groups exhibited an increased performance on the treadmill compared to the untreated control animals. "We assume that Epo in the brain triggers a motivation boost to increase physical performance," explains Professor Gassmann. He and his team are now testing the performance-enhancing effect of Epo on volunteers.

Epo probably has an impact on people's moods, too. It might thus be used in patients who suffer from depression. The latest experiments conducted by a German-Danish research group reveal that Epo can also alleviate the condition of patients suffering from schizophrenia by improving their .

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A new way to boost red blood cell numbers

Jan 10, 2008

A common treatment for anemia — a deficiency in red blood cells (rbcs) caused by their insufficient production, excessive destruction, or excessive loss — is administration of recombinant erythropoietin (Epo), a hormone ...

Memory enhanced by sports-cheat drug

Sep 09, 2008

A drug used to increase blood production in both medical treatments and athletic doping scandals seems also to improve memory in those using it. New research published in the open access journal BMC Biology shows that the me ...

EPO doping helps combat cerebral malaria

Apr 21, 2011

Almost 3.3 billion people, half of the world's population, risk being infected with malaria. Despite having effective means against malaria, the WHO reports 250 million cases of malaria each year and more than 700,000 related ...

Recommended for you

Ebola vaccine not before late 2016: GSK researcher

Oct 17, 2014

An Ebola vaccine by British pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline may not be ready for commercial use until late 2016 and should therefore not be seen as the "primary answer" to the current outbreak, a company researcher ...

Chimerix gets FDA OK to test drug for Ebola

Oct 17, 2014

(AP)—A North Carolina drugmaker plans to test its experimental antiviral drug in patients who have Ebola, after getting authorization from regulators at the Food and Drug Administration.

Esbriet, ofev approved to treat deadly lung disease

Oct 16, 2014

(HealthDay)—Two new drugs have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat progressive lung scarring from an uncertain cause, medically called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

FDA weighs removing bolded warning from Chantix

Oct 14, 2014

(AP)—The Food and Drug Administration will ask a panel of experts later this week whether a bold-letter warning on the anti-smoking drug Chantix should be removed based on company-supported evidence that the drug does not ...

Drug-coated balloon catheter approved

Oct 13, 2014

(HealthDay)—The first drug-coated balloon catheter designed to clear narrowed or blocked arteries in the thigh and knee has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

User comments