Effect of acute and chronic xenon inhalation on erythropoietin, hematological parameters, and athletic performance

Effect of acute and chronic xenon inhalation on erythropoietin, hematological parameters, and athletic performance / Katrin A. Dias, Justin S. Lawley, Hannes Gatterer, Erin J. Howden, Satyam Sarma, William K. Cornwell 3rd, Christopher M. Hearon Jr, Mitchel Samels, Braden Everding, Allan Shuo-Wen Liang, Max Hendrix, Thomas Piper, Mario Thevis, Richard K. Bruick, Benjamin D. Levine. - (Journal of Applied Physiology 127 (2019) 6 (December); p. 1503-1510)

  • PMID: 31414957
  • DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00289.2019


This study aimed to assess the efficacy of acute subanesthetic dosages of xenon inhalation to cause erythropoiesis and determine the effect of chronic xenon dosing on hematological parameters and athletic performance. To assess the acute effects, seven subjects breathed three subanesthetic concentrations of xenon: 30% fraction of inspired xenon (FiXe) for 20 min, 50% FiXe for 5 min, and 70% FiXe for 2 min. Erythropoietin (EPO) was measured at baseline, during, and after xenon inhalation. To determine the chronic effects, eight subjects breathed 70% FiXe for 2 min on 7 consecutive days, and EPO, total blood, and plasma volume were measured. Phase II involved assessment of 12 subjects for EPO, total blood volume, maximal oxygen uptake, and 3-km time before and after random assignment to 4 wk of xenon or sham gas inhalation. FiXe 50% and 70% stimulated an increase in EPO at 6 h [+2.3 mIU/mL; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.1-4.5; P = 0.038] and at 192 h postinhalation (+2.9 mIU/mL; 95% CI 0.6-5.1; P = 0.017), respectively. Seven consecutive days of dosing significantly elevated plasma volume (+491 mL; 95% CI 194-789; P = 0.002). Phase II showed no significant effect on EPO, hemoglobin mass, plasma volume, maximal oxygen uptake, or 3-km time. Acute exposure to subanesthetic doses of xenon caused a consistent increase in EPO, and 7 consecutive days of xenon inhalation significantly expanded plasma volume. However, this physiological response appeared to be transient, and 4 wk of xenon inhalation did not stimulate increases in plasma volume or erythropoiesis, leaving cardiorespiratory fitness and athletic performance unchanged.

NEW & NOTEWORTHY This is the first study to examine each element of the cascade by which xenon inhalation is purported to take effect, starting with measurement of the hypoxia-inducible factor effector, erythropoietin, to hemoglobin mass and blood volume and athletic performance. We found that acute exposure to xenon increased serum erythropoietin concentration, although major markers of erythropoiesis remained unchanged. While daily dosing significantly expanded plasma volume, no physiological or performance benefits were apparent following 4 wk of dosing.

Original document


Research / Study
26 November 2019
Bruick, Richard K.
Cornwell, William K. 3rd
Dias, Katrin A.
Everding, Braden
Gatterer, Hannes
Hearon, Christopher M. Jr.
Hendrix, Max
Howden, Erin J.
Lawley, Justin Stevan
Levine, Benjamin D.
Liang, Allan Shuo-Wen
Piper, Thomas
Samels, Mitchel
Sarma, Satyan
Thevis, Mario
United States of America
Other organisations
Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute
Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln (DSHS) - German Sport University Cologne
Eurac Research
Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck - University of Innsbruck
National Defense Medical Center (NDMC Taiwan)
National Health Research Institutes (NHRI Taiwan)
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW)
Analytical aspects
Testing method development
Doping classes
S2. Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors
Medical terms
Hemoglobin levels
Document category
Scientific article
Document type
Pdf file
Date generated
15 March 2021
Date of last modification
18 March 2021
  • Legal Source
  • Education
  • Science
  • Statistics
  • History
Country & language
  • Country
  • Language
Other filters
  • ADRV
  • Legal Terms
  • Sport/IFs
  • Other organisations
  • Laboratories
  • Analytical aspects
  • Doping classes
  • Substances
  • Medical terms
  • Various
  • Version
  • Document category
  • Document type
Publication period