Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hair Follicles Can Manufacture Blood-Doping and Life-Saving Substance, Erythropoietin

Date:
September 25, 2007
Source:
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Summary:
A stunning discovery may make blood doping and the treatment of severe anemia as easy as washing your hair. Researchers show that hair follicles on people's head have the potential to become erythropoietin factories. EPO, the hormone responsible for the creation of red blood cells, is used illegally to enhance athletic performance and legally to treat severe anemia associated with kidney failure and chemotherapy.

A stunning discovery by German scientists may make blood doping and the treatment of severe anemia as easy as washing your hair.

In the October print issue of The FASEB Journal, researchers show that the estimated 100,000 hair follicles on each person's head have the potential to become erythropoietin (EPO) factories. EPO, the hormone primarily responsible for the creation of red blood cells, is used illegally to enhance athletic performance and is used legally to treat severe anemia associated with kidney failure and chemotherapy.

"The ultimate hope is that we'll be able to up the production of natural EPO in our hair follicles whenever we need it, safely and at a low cost," said Ralf Paus, senior author of the study. "Our study also highlights that ancient hormones are engaged in many more activities than conventional medical wisdom has assigned to them."

Normally, EPO is created and released by the kidneys. When the kidneys fail, or when someone undergoes chemotherapy, this process is disrupted and severe anemia occurs. Today, most people are treated using synthetic EPO to bring red blood cells back to normal levels, but synthetic versions of this hormone are relatively expensive.

Blood-doping athletes use synthetic EPO to help their bodies bring red blood cells to above-normal levels. This increased concentration of red blood cells allows the blood to deliver more oxygen to muscles than normal, significantly improving endurance and performance.

The major danger in boosting the number of red blood cells above normal is that as the blood thickens with red blood cells, the possibility of heart attack increases.

"This study opens doors to an entirely new approach for treating EPO-related anemia," said Gerald Weissmann, MD, Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "The study also is important because it suggests that there is still much to learn about 'well known' processes in the body."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. "Hair Follicles Can Manufacture Blood-Doping and Life-Saving Substance, Erythropoietin." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070920111345.htm>.
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. (2007, September 25). Hair Follicles Can Manufacture Blood-Doping and Life-Saving Substance, Erythropoietin. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070920111345.htm
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. "Hair Follicles Can Manufacture Blood-Doping and Life-Saving Substance, Erythropoietin." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070920111345.htm (accessed April 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, April 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins