Endocrine Abstracts (2008) 16 S18.4

Distinction between endogenous and exogenous erythropoietin (EPO)

Jordi Segura


IMIM-Hospital del Mar, UPF, Barcelona, Spain.


Sports authorities prohibited the use of EPO in 1988 and at present any analogue or mimetic is also included in the list of prohibited substances from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The presentation will summarize the main analytical strategies developed to identify the presence of recombinant erythropoietin (EPO) administered as a doping agent.

Indirect evidence is based on the analysis of blood parameters (haemoglobin, haematocrit, reticulocytes, macrocytes, etc.) and serum markers (concentration of EPO and serum transferrin receptors, etc). The problem of inter-technique comparison for reliable results evaluation will be emphasized, especially for serum markers.

Charge differences between isoforms of recombinant EPO and native urinary EPO are the grounds for the isoelectric focusing–double blotting–chemiluminescence detection method presently approved for doping control. Its advantages and limitations will be presented and commented on. The chemical bases of the differential detection will be highlighted and some future approaches for detection also presented.

The appearance and detectability of EPO analogues and mimetics susceptible for abuse will also be addressed.

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