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Peptide hormones abuse in sport: State of the art in the detection of growth hormone and erythropoietin
Journal of Toxicology-Toxin Reviews
Peptide hormones have been abused in sports to improve physical performances since recombinant products which are the exact replicate of their natural models became available. Both human growth hormone and erythropoietin are now available in large quantities on the unofficial market for those who want to use them for applications lying outside the accepted medical applications. Such abuse calls for strict controls, because non-medical abuses of these powerful products can produce dangerous side-effects. The duration time of both peptides in the body is so short that direct detection of the recombinant products is impossible. The actual tests available for their detection rely on immunological assays which are not considered good enough for determining their abuse in sports. All possible secondary markers are now being sought for adoption as a screening test which still requires confirmation by the direct measurement of the hormones themselves. Blood samples might well appear to be more useful for the comparison of quantitative data obtained from carefully selected secondary markers of the abuse of these drugs although large population studies on their variations are not yet accomplished. The final proof of the abuse of such products is sought through the use of the newest analytical techniques like Liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. The state of the art in this field is analysed in view of the specific problems that any doping control laboratory is faced with, including the ethical and legal requirements
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