Date Published: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Author(s): Richard Robinson
Partial Text: “Epo,” or erythropoietin, is not just a performance-enhancing drug for endurance athletes. It is an essential hormone that regulates the rate of erythropoiesis, or creation of new red blood cells. Basal Epo signaling ensures that such cells are made constantly at a low level, to replace worn-out cells. Certain stresses, such as hypoxia, increase Epo and lead to a steep increase in erythropoiesis, a phenomenon known to mountain climbers, who adapt to the low oxygen at high altitudes by packing more red blood cells into their blood.