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Doping with growth hormone reliably detected by mass spectrometry

Especially interesting for
  • anti-doping test laboratories
  • manufacturers of mass spectrometers
(Photo: Joachim Lechner, Fotolia)

Based on a new mass-spectrometric method developed at PTB, doping with growth hormone (hGH – human growth hormone) could become detectable with much greater precision and confidence when compared to existing approaches. Current methods largely rely on the principles of antibody-antigen recognition that cannot completely exclude false positives when it comes to molecular forms that are similar to the targeted growth hormone. The pertaining risk of positively classifying a “non-doped” sample, simply as a consequence of natural serum components (rather than hGH) present in biological fluids, can drastically be reduced with the strategy developed. The advantage of this new mass-spectrometry-based procedure lies in the unmistakeable identification of hGH (or its individual, naturally occuring forms) by the masses of characteristic fragments of the molecule. This is achieved thanks to the high resolution of modern mass spectrometers, which allows even very small mass difference to be resolved reliably.

  • significant improvement of the detection of hGH in the concentration range from 0.1 ng/ml to 30 ng/ml
  • validation of uncertain results obtained by means of other methods of investigation