Category: Horse racing



The World Antidoping Agency (WADA) has introduced some changes in the 2012 prohibited list. Among the leading innovations to the rules are that both 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-1-β-D-ribofuranoside (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-δ [PPAR-δ]-5′ adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase [AMPK] agonist) and GW1516 (PPAR-δ-agonist) are no longer categorized as gene doping substances in the new 2012 prohibited list but as metabolic modulators in the class “Hormone and metabolic modulators.” This may also be valid for the angotensin II receptor blocker telmisartan. It has recently been shown that telmisartan might induce similar biochemical, biological, and metabolic changes (e.g., mitochondrial biogenesis and changes in skeletal muscle fiber type) as those reported for the former call of substances. We suspect that metabolic modulators abuse such as telmisartan might become a tangible threat in sports and should be thereby targeted as an important antidoping issue. The 2012 WADA prohibited list does not provide telmisartan for a potential doping drug, but arguments supporting the consideration to include them among “metabolic modulators” are at hand.

[PubMed – in process]

Low dose exogenous erythropoietin elicits an ergogenic effect in standardbred horses


Equine Science Center, Department of Animal Sciences, Rutgers the State University of New Jersey, 84 Lipman Drive, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 08901-8525, USA.



Recombinant human erythropoietin (rhuEPO) causes an increase in red blood cell production and aerobic capacity in other species; however, data are lacking on effects in the horse.


This study tested the hypothesis that rhuEPO administration would alter red cell volume (RCV), aerobic capacity (VO2max) and indices of anaerobic power.


Eight healthy, unfit mares accustomed to the laboratory and experimental protocols were randomly assigned to either a control (CON, n = 4; 3 ml saline 3 times/week for 3 weeks) or EPO group (EPO, n = 4, 50 iu/kg bwt rhuEPO/3 ml saline 3 times/week for 3 weeks). Exercise tests (GXT) were performed on a treadmill (6% incline), 1 week before and 1 week after treatment. The GXT started at 4 m/sec, with a 1 m/sec increase every 60 sec until the horse reached fatigue. Oxygen uptake was measured via an open flow indirect calorimeter. Blood samples were collected before, during (each step) and 2 and 15 min post GXT to measure packed cell volume (PCV), haemoglobin concentration (Hb), blood lactate concentration (LA) and plasma protein concentration (TP). Plasma volume (PV) was measured using Evans Blue dye. Blood volume (BV) and RCV were calculated using PCV from the 8 m/sec step of the GXT.


There were no alterations (P>0.05) in any parameters in CON horses. By week 3, EPO produced increases (P<0.05) in resting PCV (37 +/- 2 vs. 51 +/- 2) and Hb (37%). RCV (26%) and VO2max (19%) increased, but BV did not change (P>0.05) due to decreased PV (-11%, P<0.05). There was a significant increase in velocity at VO2max and LApeak for horses treated with rhuEPO and substantial decrease (P<0.05) in VO2 recovery time when the pretreatment GXT was compared to the post treatment GXT. No differences (P<0.05) were detected for TP, VLA4, run time or Vmax.


Low dose rhuEPO administration increases RCV and aerobic capacity without altering anaerobic power.


This study demonstrates that rhuEPO enhances aerobic capacity and exercise performance, a question relevant to racing authorities.

[PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]