Autologous blood doping (ABD) refers to the transfusion of one’s own blood after it has been stored. Although its application is prohibited in sports, it is assumed that ABD is applied by a variety of athletes because of its benefits on exercise performance and the fact that it is not detectable so far. Therefore, this study aims at identifying changes in hematological and hemorheo-logical parameters during the whole course of ABD procedure and to relate those changes to exercise performance. Eight healthy men conducted a 31-week ABD protocol including two blood donations and the transfusion of their own stored RBC volume corresponding to 7.7% of total blood volume. Longitudinal blood and rheological parameter measurements and analyses of RBC membrane proteins and electrolyte levels were performed. Thereby, responses of RBC sub-populations—young to old RBC—were detected. Finally, exercise tests were carried out before and after transfusion. Results indicate a higher percentage of young RBC, altered RBC deformability and electrolyte concentration due to ABD. In contrast, RBC membrane proteins remained unaffected. Running economy improved after blood transfusion. Thus, close analysis of RBC variables related to ABD detection seems feasible but should be verified in further more-detailed studies.
- autologous blood doping
- exercise performance
- red blood cell age
- red blood cell rheologic parameters
- red blood cells