EPO (Erythropoietin) description
Erythropoietin (EPO) is a glycoprotein secreted mainly by the kidneys in response to cellular hypoxia; stimulates the production of red blood cells (erythropoiesis) in the bone marrow. At the same time, it acts on red blood cells and protects them from destruction. Low levels of EPO (about 10 mU / ml) are constantly secreted sufficient to compensate for normal red blood cell turnover. Renal cells, which make erythropoietin, are sensitive to the low levels of oxygen in the blood that passes through the kidneys. These cells produce and release erythropoietin when the oxygen level is too low. Low oxygen levels may indicate a reduced number of red blood cells (anemia) or hemoglobin molecules that carry oxygen through the body.
Regulation of erythropoietin production in the body
Although the exact mechanisms that regulate erythropoietin production are not well understood, specialized kidney cells have been shown to be able to detect and respond to low oxygen levels through increased erythropoietin production: If there is enough oxygen in the blood, erythropoietin production is reduced, but as oxygen levels fall, erythropoietin production rises.
Epo and doping – Epo as performance improving substance
EPO due to its significant ability to improve oxygenation, is often abused by endurance athletes, as administration of EPO can significantly increase endurance. As a performance-enhancing drug, EPO has been banned since the early 1990s.
EPO possible benefits and effects
- EPO can be very good used in the treatment of anemia, promotes the formation of red blood cells
- EPO initiate the synthesis of hemoglobin, a molecule in red blood cells that transports oxygen
- EPO is useful in patients with heart failure, especially with cardiorenal anemia syndrome
- EPO affects all phases of wound healing and shows encouraging results in chronic wound healing in experimental studies
EPO possible side effects
- Allergic and anaphylactic reactions
- Dizziness, nausea, fever
- Pain at the injection site
- EPO treatment increases the risk of thrombosis (blood clots)
- Possibility of cancer progression (EPO may increase tumor progression (in cancer patients)
- EPO may cause an excessive rise in hemoglobin, which increases the patient’s risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure
For medical use: EPO must be used with caution as directed by a physician, as accidental use may result in serious adverse effects. The healthcare provider must check the patient’s blood cell count to make sure there is no increased risk for them when taking EPO. For the clinical application of recombinant human erythropoietin in anemia associated with chronic kidney disease on dialysis, for adult patients the approved dose of EPO is 50 to 100 units of EPO / 1 kg body weight intravenously or subcutaneously 3 times a week. Weekly monitoring of hemoglobin is recommended / required.
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