Quantification of insulin-like growth factor-1 in dried blood spots for detection of growth hormone abuse in sport

Quantification of insulin-like growth factor-1 in dried blood spots for detection of growth hormone abuse in sport / Holly D. Cox, Jessica Rampton, Daniel Eichner. - (Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 405 (2013) 6 (February); p. 1949-1958)

  • PMID: 23263515
  • DOI: 10.1007/s00216-012-6626-y


There is significant evidence that athletes are using recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) to enhance performance, and its use is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency and professional sports leagues. Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) is the primary mediator of growth hormone action and is used as a biomarker for the detection of rhGH abuse. The current biomarker-based method requires collection and expedited shipment of venous blood which is costly and may decrease the number of tests performed. Measurement of GH biomarkers in dried blood spots (DBS) would considerably simplify sample collection and shipping methods to allow testing of a greater number of samples regardless of location. A method was developed to quantify intact IGF-1 protein in DBS by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. A step-wise acid-acetonitrile extraction was optimized to achieve a sensitive assay with a lower limit of quantification of 50 ng/mL. IGF-1 remained stable at room temperature for up to 8 days, which would allow shipment of DBS cards at ambient temperature. In a comparison between plasma concentrations of IGF-1 and concentrations measured from venous and finger prick DBS, there was good correlation and agreement, r(2) of 0.8551 and accuracy of 86-113 % for venous DBS and r(2) of 0.9586 and accuracy of 89-122 % for finger prick DBS. The method is intended for use as a rapid screening method for IGF-1 to be used in the biomarker method of rhGH abuse detection.


Research / Study
22 December 2012
Cox, Holly D.
Eichner, Daniel
Rampton, Jessica
United States of America
Salt Lake City, USA: The Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory (SMRTL)
Analytical aspects
Blood testing method
Mass spectrometry analysis
Testing method development
Doping classes
S2. Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors
Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1)
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Date generated
29 October 2020
Date of last modification
30 October 2020
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