Technische Universität München

The Entrepreneurial University

The side effects of EPO on the immune system are still not clear. Some investigations suggest that artificial oxygen carriers can impair the immune system. However, investigations in animals have shown that premature rats with lower levels of red blood cells, displayed a decrease in immune function, such as T cell responsiveness and TNF-α production (compared with mature rats).
Corticotropin has been used to increase blood levels of endogenous corticosteroid. Administration of corticotropin is considered to be similar to the systemic administration of corticosteroids which is well known to suppress immune response at pharmacological concentrations. They decrease lymphocyte mediated adaptive response which could increase susceptibility to infection.
Growth hormone (GH) has been described in general as an immunopermissive hormone. Exogenously administrated GH is protective in many models of infection in which macrophages play important effector roles. There are studies on the physiological role of GH in the immune response and the variations of this hormone following exercise, but there are no studies which link the administration of this hormone as a doping substance and thereby its effects on the immune system.
GH mediates the acute effects of exercise on neutrophils. Intravenous GH injection induces a marked neutrophil. An increased respiratory burst immediately after maximal exercise performed by cross-country skiers was found in parallel with increased serum GH levels. However, although changes in the concentration of GH may also contribute to changes in the respiratory burst of neutrophils (related to their microbicide capacity) over repeated exercise bouts or in response to training, the results are confusing. There are no studies which link the administration of this hormone as a doping substance and its effects on the immune system.