Gore, C. J., Parisotto, R., Hahn, A. G., Ashenden, M. J., Martin, D. T., Pyne, D. B., Gawthorn, K., & Bruguara, C. (2000). Reticulocyte parameters as discriminators of R-HuEPO abuse in elite athletes. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 32(5), Supplement abstract 809.

The efficacy of reticulocyte parameters as indirect markers of EPO abuse in elite athletes was investigated. Reference ranges were set from venous blood results of 155 nationally and internationally ranked athletes from six sports. Reference ranges were compared with values of a non-athletic sample (N = 23), four groups of athletes (N = 45) exposed to simulated altitude (2500-3100 m for 11-23 nights), two groups of elite cyclists (N = 12) before and after four weeks of training at natural altitude (1780-2690 m), and 24 non-athletic Ss given EPO.

At the established thresholds, sensitivity of reticulocyte parameters was 80% 1-2 days after the last injection, while at baseline it was 100%.

Implication. Reticulocyte parameters have the potential to discriminate between changes expected in elite athletes who undertake training at either sea level or altitude and those who use EPO.

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