Detection of Growth Hormone Doping in Sport Using Growth Hormone-Responsive Markers
There is anecdotal evidence that growth hormone (GH) is widely abused, reportedly often in combination with anabolic steroids at high doses for several months. Development of a robust test for GH has been challenging. There are wide physiological fluctuations in circulating GH concentrations and the recombinant human 22 kDa GH used in doping is indistinguishable analytically from endogenous GH. The GH-responsive markers approach to detect GH doping is based on the measurement of serum proteins, such as insulin-like growth factor (IGF) and collagen peptides, that have more stable concentrations and longer half-lives than GH. Age and gender are the major determinants of variability for IGF-I and the collagen markers. A test based on these markers must take age into account for men and women and ethnicity is unlikely to be a confounder for IGF-I and the collagen markers. Extensive data from administration studies are now available to validate the use of GH-responsive marker and a test based on this approach will likely use a combination of markers. This approach extends the time window of detection of GH and to detect abuse of other forms of GH and GH secretagogues. Implementation of a test based on GH-responsive markers is now largely dependent on overcoming hurdles including availability of standardized assays with assured supplies of antibodies.
KeywordsGrowth Hormone Anabolic Steroid Elite Athlete Anabolic Androgenic Steroid Collagen Marker
Research by the authors has been supported by the World Anti-Doping Agency and by the Australian Government through the Anti-Doping Research Program (ADRP) of the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts.
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