Detection of Growth Hormone Doping by Gene Expression Profiling of Peripheral Blood

Detection of Growth Hormone Doping by Gene Expression Profiling of Peripheral Blood / Christopher J. Mitchell, Anne E. Nelson, Mark J. Cowley, Warren Kaplan, Glenn Stone, Selina K. Sutton, Amie Lau, Carol M.Y. Lee, Ken K.Y. Ho. - (The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 94 (2009) 12 (1 December); p. 4703-4709)

  • PMID: 19875482
  • DOI: 10.1210/jc.2009-1038


Context: GH abuse is a significant problem in many sports, and there is currently no robust test that allows detection of doping beyond a short window after administration.

Objective: Our objective was to evaluate gene expression profiling in peripheral blood leukocytes in-vivo as a test for GH doping in humans.

Design: Seven men and thirteen women were administered GH, 2 mg/d sc for 8 wk. Blood was collected at baseline and at 8 wk. RNA was extracted from the white cell fraction. Microarray analysis was undertaken using Agilent 44K G4112F arrays using a two-color design. Quantitative RT-PCR using TaqMan gene expression assays was performed for validation of selected differentially expressed genes.

Results: GH induced an approximately 2-fold increase in circulating IGF-I that was maintained throughout the 8 wk of the study. GH induced significant changes in gene expression with 353 in women and 41 in men detected with a false discovery rate of less than 5%. None of the differentially expressed genes were common between men and women. The maximal changes were a doubling for up-regulated or halving for down-regulated genes, similar in magnitude to the variation between individuals. Quantitative RT-PCR for seven target genes showed good concordance between microarray and quantitative PCR data in women but not in men.

Conclusion: Gene expression analysis of peripheral blood leukocytes is unlikely to be a viable approach for the detection of GH doping.

Original document


Research / Study
1 December 2009
Cowley, Mark J.
Ho, Ken K.Y.
Kaplan, Warren
Lee, Carol M.Y.
Mitchell, Christopher J.
Nelson, Anne E.
Stone, Glenn
Sutton, Selina K.
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Garvan Institute of Medical Research
University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney)
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Testing method development
Doping classes
S2. Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors
Growth hormone (GH)
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Scientific article
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Date generated
29 June 2020
Date of last modification
6 August 2020
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