Erythropoietin is a hormone, developed mainly in the kidneys, which stimulates the production and maintenance of red blood cells.

Alternative names for erythropoietin

Erythropoietin is commonly referred to together EPO. That is additionally called haematopoietin or haemopoietin, but these names are rarely offered today.

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What is erythropoietin?

Erythropoietin (EPO) is a hormone the is created predominantly by specialised cells referred to as interstitial cell in the kidney. Once it is made, it acts on red blood cell to defend them against destruction. In ~ the same time the stimulates stem cells of the bone marrow to rise the production of red blood cells.


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Erythropoeitin experimentation in sport. Blood sample gift tested for the existence of the performance-enhancing hormone erythropoeitin.


Although the precise mechanisms that manage the manufacturing of erythropoietin space poorly understood, that is famous that specialised cell in the kidney are capable of detecting and responding to short levels of oxygen (hypoxaemia) through enhanced production the erythropoietin. When there is sufficient oxygen in the blood circulation, the production of erythropoietin is reduced, however when oxygen levels walk down, the manufacturing of erythropoietin walk up. This is an adaptive mechanism because it facilitates the production of an ext red blood cells to transport more oxygen about the body, therefore raising oxygen levels in the tissues. For example, when relocating in come a high altitude the air press drops and also this can reason hypoxia that stimulates rise in erythropoietin production. In low oxygen states, people risk developing hypoxia - oxygen deprivation. Hypoxia can also occur once there is negative ventilation that the lung such as occurs in chronic lung disease, emphysema and also in cardiovascular disease. The manufacturing of erythropoietin is lessened in details conditions such as kidney failure, chronic illness like HIV/AIDS, and details cancers and in chronic inflammatory illness like rheumatoid arthritis.

What happens if I have actually too much erythropoietin?

Excess erythropoietin outcomes from chronic exposure to short oxygen levels or from rare tumours that develop high levels of erythropoietin. It causes a condition known together polycythaemia which means high red blood cabinet count. In numerous people, polycythaemia does no cause any kind of symptoms. However, there space some general and non-specific symptoms consisting of weakness, fatigue, headache, itching, joint pain and dizziness.

What happens if I have too small erythropoietin?

If you have actually too tiny erythropoietin, i m sorry is usually caused by chronic kidney disease, there will certainly be under red blood cells and also you will have actually anaemia. Erythropoietin has been made synthetically for the therapy of anaemia that outcomes from chronic kidney failure. It is additionally given come patients v some rarer species of cancer.Some experienced athletes have used this form of erythropoietin (known together blood doping) to improve their performance, specifically to increase endurance. Artificially increasing your erythropoietin level produces an ext haemoglobin and also red blood cells and also therefore improves the amount of oxygen that can be delivered to tissues, particularly muscles. This can improve power capacity, although this type of doping practice is banned by most experienced sport committees.

Can we measure erythropoietin in the blood?

Yes, erythropoietin hormone levels have the right to be measure up in the blood. The check is done v a an easy blood test, preferably a morning sample collection. A needle is supplied for illustration blood native a vein on your arm. You nothing need any type of special preparations prior to a blood test, but you need to let your healthcare provider know if you room taking any kind of medications, vitamin supplements or any type of illicit drugs or herbs.

The check Results

The check results may vary based upon your age, sex, wellness status, and even the technique used because that the test. Your healthcare provider will comment on your results with you.

Too little erythropoietin might be because of anaemia (low red blood cells), especially anaemia as result of kidney disease. Increased levels the erythropoietin might be as result of a problem called polycythaemia (too plenty of red blood cells) or it could be proof of a kidney tumour.

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EPO doping in Athletes

Raised levels of Erythropoietin in athletes indicate erythropoietin abuse (doping). EPO doping can rise the variety of red blood cells and also there by increased ease of access of oxygen to the muscles. This can assist the athlete with boosted performance capacity and endurance. Blood doping is illegal specifically in skilled sports. Experienced athletes are asked to take this check to uncover out if they are violating the anti-doping law.