Microdoses of recombinant human erythropoietin enhance time trial performance in trained males and females

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Purpose: We investigated the effects of recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) administration on exercise endurance, maximal aerobic performance and total hemoglobin mass (tHb). We hypothesized that frequent, small intravenous injections of epoetin β would increase time trial performance, peak oxygen uptake (V̇O2peak) and tHb in both males and females.

Methods: We included 48 healthy, recreational to trained males (n = 24, mean ± standard deviation V̇O2peak of 55 ± 5 ml O2 × kg-1 × min-1) and females (n = 24; V̇O2peak of 46 ± 4 ml O2 × kg-1 × min-1) in a counter-balanced, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study design stratified by sex. Time trial performance, V̇O2peak, and tHb were determined before and after intravenous injections of either rHuEPO (9 IU × kg bw-1 epoetin β) or saline (0.9% NaCl) three times weekly for 4 weeks.

Results: A time × treatment effect (P < 0.05) existed for time trial performance. Within the rHuEPO group, mean power output (MPO) increased by 4.1 ± 4.2% (P < 0.001). Likewise, a time × treatment effect (P < 0.001) existed for V̇O2peak, where the rHuEPO group improved V̇O2peak and peak aerobic power by 4.2 ± 6.1% (P < 0.001) and 2.9 ± 4.0% (P < 0.01), respectively. A time × treatment effect (P < 0.001) existed for tHb, where the rHuEPO group increased tHb by 6.7 ± 3.4% (P < 0.001). A main effect of 'sex' alone was also evident (P < 0.001) but no sex-specific interactions were found. No changes were observed in the placebo group for MPO, V̇O2peak, peak aerobic power or tHb.

Conclusion: Microdoses with intravenous rHuEPO provide a sufficient erythropoietic stimuli to augment tHb and enhance aerobic-dominated performance in both trained males and females.

TidsskriftMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)311-321
Antal sider11
StatusUdgivet - 2023

Bibliografisk note

CURIS 2023 NEXS 026

Copyright © 2022 by the American College of Sports Medicine.

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