High-sensitivity chemiluminescence immunoassays for detection of growth hormone doping in sports

High-sensitivity chemiluminescence immunoassays for detection of growth hormone doping in sports / Martin Bidlingmaier, Jennifer Suhr, Andrea Ernst, Zida Wu, Alexandra Keller, Christian J. Strasburger, Andreas Bergmann. - (Clinical Chemistry 55 (2009) 3 (March); p. 445-453)

  • PMID: 19168559.
  • DOI: 10.1373/clinchem.2008.112458


Recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) is abused in sports, but adequate routine doping tests are lacking. Analysis of serum hGH isoform composition has been shown to be effective in detecting rhGH doping. We developed and validated selective immunoassays for isoform analysis with potential utility for screening and confirmation in doping tests.

Monoclonal antibodies with preference for pituitary hGH (phGH) or rhGH were used to establish 2 pairs of sandwich-type chemiluminescence assays with differential recognition of rhGH (recA and recB) and phGH (pitA and pitB). We analyzed specimens from volunteers before and after administration of rhGH and calculated ratios between the respective rec- and pit-assay results.

Functional sensitivities were <0.05 microg/L, with intra- and interassay imprecision < or =8.4% and < or =13.7%, respectively. In 2 independent cohorts of healthy subjects, rec/pit ratios (median range) were 0.84 (0.09-1.32)/0.81 (0.27-1.21) (recA/pitA) and 0.68 (0.08-1.20)/0.80 (0.25-1.36) (recB/pitB), with no sex difference. In 20 recreational athletes, ratios (median SD) increased after a single injection of rhGH, reaching 350% (73%) (recA/pitA) and 400% (93%) (recB/pitB) of baseline ratios. At a moderate dose (0.033 mg/kg), mean recA/pitA and recB/pitB ratios remained significantly increased for 18 h (men) and 26 h (women). After high-dose rhGH (0.083 mg/kg), mean rec/pit ratios remained increased for 32 h (recA/pitA) and 34 h (recB/pitB) in men and were still increased after 36 h in women.

Using sensitive chemiluminescence assays with preferential recognition of phGH or rhGH, detection of a single injection of rhGH was possible for up to 36 h.

Original document


Research / Study
23 January 2009
Bergmann, Andreas
Bidlingmaier, Martin
Ernst, Andrea
Keller, Alexander
Strasburger, Christian J.
Suhr, Jennifer
Wu, Zida
Adverse Analytical Finding / presence
Other organisations
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU) - Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
Analytical aspects
Testing method development
Doping classes
S2. Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors
Growth hormone (GH)
Document category
Scientific article
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Pdf file
Date generated
28 February 2012
Date of last modification
12 January 2022
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