HIGH LEVELS OF EPO A CHARACTERISTIC OF CROSS-COUNTRY SKIERS
Berglund, B., & Wide, L. (2002). Erythropoietin concentrations and isoforms in urine of anonymous Olympic athletes during the Nagano Olympic Games. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 12, 354-357.
"The ordinary doping control urine samples of 36 anonymous participants (cross-country skiers, biathlon athletes, and curling athletes) of the 1998 Nagano Olympic Games were analyzed for erythropoietin and erythropoietin isoforms. The urine erythropoietin concentration (IU/l) was determined with a competitive radioimmunoassay method and the isoforms were studied by electrophoresis and given as milli albumin mobility units (mAMU). Erythropoietin was detectable in 23 out of 36 specimens (64%). The biathlon and curling athletes had similar urine concentration of erythropoietin. The group of 16 cross-country skiers had significantly (P < 0.05) increased urine concentration of erythropoietin as compared to curling athletes and four of them had urine erythropoietin concentrations between 3.6 and 5.1 IU/l. The electrophoretic mobility of erythropoietin was determined in all eight samples with urine concentration of erythropoietin of more than 2 (range 2.1-5.1) IU/l. No single urine specimen with a median erythropoietin electrophoretic mobility below the cut-off level of 670 mAMU (indicative of doping with recombinant erythropoietin) was registered. Erythropoietin in urine was detected in 71% and the isoforms of Epo characterized in 29% of the anonymous Olympic endurance athletes. The urine concentration of erythropoietin in the biathlon and curling athletes were similar to those of non-athletes. The group of cross-country skiers had higher levels of erythropoietin in urine. These higher levels of urine erythropoietin in cross-country skiers are partly due to more concentrated urine specimens".
Implication. This author and colleagues have postulated that some groups of elite athletes have distinguishing physiological features and factors. This study found that the endurance-related EPO concentration was highest in endurance athletes (cross-country skiers). It could be that cross-country skiers should be expected to record higher incidences and concentrations of EPO as well as other endurance-related factors, such as abnormally high hematocrit.
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