Wide et al used protein electrophoresis to identify a healthy male who has been using recombinant erythropoietin. The authors are from University Hospital Uppsala and Karolinska Hospital in Sweden.


Basis: Recombinant erythropoietin carries fewer negative charges (less anionic) than natural erythropoietin. It therefore does not travel as close to the anode as natural erythropoietin.


Samples: serum or urine



(1) Erythropoietin is separated and electrophoresed.

(2) The mean value of the peak is determined (reported in mAMU, with AMU = albumin mobility unit).



• Albumin has multiple negative charges so moves close to the anode.

• Albumin shows 1 AMU = 1,000 m AMU.



• A mean value for the erythropoietin > 670 mAMU is seen if there is no recombinant erythropoietin.

• A mean value for erythropoietin < 670 mAMU indicates that recombinant erythropoietin may be present.



• This assumes that the athlete's personal chemist has not found a way to add more negative charges to the recombinant erythropoietin.

• Positive results are seen 1 to 3 days after use in most men given recombinant erythropoietin. Serum testing appears to be more sensitive after 24 hours.

• 1 week after use the erythropoietin peak is back in the normal range.


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