“The new findings of this study urge to scrutinize present indications for EPO, and so help to better delineate positive versus adversary health effects of EPO for each patient,” said Peter Rasmussen, Ph. D., a researcher involved in the work from the Zurich Center for Integrative Human Physiology at the University of Zurich in Switzerland.
The results of the study were published online in the FASEB Journal.
According to the study, short or long-term use of EPO increases blood pressure by constricting arteries, which reduces the flow of blood to the brain.
“Future research should aim at developing an EPO-based agent for treatment that does not have a negative effect on the blood vessels of the brain,” he said.
Rasmussen and colleagues evaluated the effects of acute high doses of EPO for three days and chronic low doses of EPO for 13 weeks in two groups of healthy males.
They found that prolonged EPO administration increased hematocrit – the concentration of red blood cells in the body, while acute administration did not.
They also found that both groups had increases in blood vessel constriction and higher blood pressure.