Coupling Complete Blood Count and Steroidomics to Track Low Doses Administration of Recombinant Growth Hormone: An Anti-Doping Perspective

Coupling Complete Blood Count and Steroidomics to Track Low Doses Administration of Recombinant Growth Hormone : An Anti-Doping Perspective / Luca Narduzzi, Corinne Buisson, Marie-Line Morvan, Alexandre Marchand, Michel Audran, Yves Le Bouc, Emmanuelle Varlet-Marie, Magnus Ericsson, Bruno Le Bizec, Gaud Dervilly. - (Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences (2021) 10 June)

  • PMID: 34179089
  • PMCID: PMC8222787
  • DOI: 10.3389/fmolb.2021.683675


Growth Hormone (GH) under its human recombinant homologue (rhGH), may be abused by athletes to take advantage of its well-known anabolic and lipolytic properties; hence it is prohibited in sports by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Due to the rapid turnover of rhGH, anti-doping screening tests have turned to monitor two endocrine biomarkers (IGF-I and P-III-NP), but unfortunately, they show population-wise variability, limiting the identification rate of rhGH users. Previous studies have evidenced the numerous effects of GH on human physiology, especially in hematopoiesis and steroidogenesis. In this work, aiming to discover novel physiological rhGH biomarkers, we analyzed the complete blood count and the steroidomics profile of healthy, physically active, young males treated either with EPO + rhGH or EPO + placebo. The time-trends of these two physiological routes have been analyzed through geometric trajectory analysis (GTA) and OPLS-DA. Individuals supplemented with micro-doses of rhGH exhibited different leukopoietic and steroidal profiles compared to the control population, suggesting a role of the rhGH in both pathways. In the article, hypotheses on the observed differences are discussed according to the most recent literature and compared to results in animal models. The use of leukopoietic and steroidal biomarkers together with endocrine biomarkers (IGF-1 and P-III-NP) allows to correctly classify over 98% of samples with no false positives, miss-classifying only one single sample (false negative) over a total of 56; a promising result, if compared to the current rhGH detection strategies.

Original document


10 June 2021
Audran, Michel
Buisson, Corinne
Dervilly, Gaud
Ericsson, Magnus
Le Bizec, Bruno
Le Bouc, Yves
Marchand, Alexandre
Morvan, Marie-Line
Narduzzi, Luca
Varlet-Marie, Emmanuelle
Other organisations
Agence Française de Lutte contre le Dopage (AFLD) - French Anti-Doping Agency
Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Montpellier (CHU de Montpellier) - University Hospital of Montpellier
École nationale vétérinaire, agroalimentaire et de l'alimentation, Nantes-Atlantique (ONIRIS) - Nantes-Atlantic National College of Veterinary Medicine, Food Science and Engineering
Sorbonne Université - Sorbonne University
Analytical aspects
Blood testing method
Testing method development
Doping classes
S2. Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors
Growth hormone (GH)
Athlete Biological Passport (ABP)
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Scientific article
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Date generated
31 August 2021
Date of last modification
1 September 2021
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