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Bioanalysis. 2012 Jul;4(13):1565-75. doi: 10.4155/bio.12.153.

Detection of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents in human anti-doping control: past, present and future.

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  • 1Swiss Laboratory for Doping Analyses, University Center of Legal Medicine, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois & University of Lausanne, Geneva & Lausanne, Switzerland.


Stimulation of erythropoiesis is one of the most efficient ways of doping. This type of doping is advantageous for aerobic physical exercise and of particular interest to endurance athletes. Erythropoiesis, which takes place in bone marrow, is under the control of EPO, a hormone secreted primarily by the kidneys when the arterial oxygen tension decreases. In certain pathological disorders, such as chronic renal failure, the production of EPO is insufficient and results in anemia. The pharmaceutical industry has, thus, been very interested in developing drugs that stimulate erythropoiesis. With this aim, various strategies have been, and continue to be, envisaged, giving rise to an expanding range of drugs that are good candidates for doping. Anti-doping control has had to deal with this situation by developing appropriate methods for their detection. This article presents an overview of both the drugs and the corresponding methods of detection, and thus follows a roughly chronological order.

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