Curr Drug Saf. 2012 Apr;7(2):164-9.
Possibility of enhanced risk of retinal angiogenesis in athletes with pre- existing retinal situation abusing erythropoietin doping: a hypothesis.
Doping with erythropoietic proteins such as erythropoietin (EPO) is a serious issue in sport. There is little information on the possible ophthalmologic alterations followed by frequent EPO abuse in athletes. EPO is a potent retinal angiogenic factor and is capable of stimulating retinal angiogenesis and neovascularization in the presence of ischemia. Systemic and intravitreal EPO concentrations are highly correlated. A linkage between EPO doping and retinal proliferation is possible and further studies are warranted. Gathering and analyzing data on retinal findings from these athletes, either retrospectively or prospectively might yield preliminary information to support the safety of those athletes. Implications of this hypothesis cover other kinds of neovascularizations and angiogenesis.