Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) misuse in athletes and potential methods for detection
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- Guha, N., Cowan, D.A., Sönksen, P.H. et al. Anal Bioanal Chem (2013) 405: 9669. doi:10.1007/s00216-013-7229-y
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To athletes, insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) is an attractive performance-enhancing drug, particularly as an alternative to growth hormone (GH) because IGF-I mediates many of the anabolic actions of GH. IGF-I has beneficial effects on muscle protein synthesis and glycogen storage that could enhance performance in several sporting disciplines. Recombinant human IGF-I (rhIGF-I) is used in clinical practice, but a variety of IGF-I compounds and IGF-I analogues are also advertised on the internet and many have been available on the black market for several years. Although methods for detecting GH misuse are now well established and there have been several cases in which athletes have tested positive for GH, no test is yet in place for detecting IGF-I misuse. The GH-2004 research group has been investigating methods for detection of IGF-I misuse and a test is being developed on the basis of the principles of the successful GH-2000 marker method, in which markers from the IGF axis and markers of collagen and bone turnover are used to detect GH misuse. Commercial immunoassays for these markers have been validated for anti-doping purposes but new methods, including IGF-I measurement by use of mass spectrometry, should improve the performance of the tests and help in the detection of athletes who are doping with these peptide hormones.