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.
Keywords: Erythropoietin, doping, retinal neovasularization, angiogenesis.
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