Doping in the recombinant era: strategies and counterstrategies

Doping in the recombinant era : strategies and counterstrategies / Hassan M.E. Azzazy, Mai M.H. Mansour, Robert H. Christenson

  • Clinical Biochemistry 38 (2005) 11 (November); p. 959-965
  • PMID: 16286094
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2005.09.007
  • Comment in:
    • Doping in the recombinant era / Gary Green
    • PMID: 17200034
    • DOI: 10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2006.11.002


Advances in recombinant DNA technology have created one of the most powerful weapons in the current doping arsenal: recombinant proteins [Sweeney HL. Gene doping. Sci Am 2004;291:62-9; Unal M, Ozer Unal D. Gene doping in sports. Sports Med 2004;34:357-62]. Recombinant erythropoietin (EPO) and human growth hormone (hGH) are currently being abused but are fortunately detectable either directly by employing isoelectric focusing and immunoassays or indirectly by assessing changes in selected hematopoietic parameters. The detection is technically demanding due to the extent of similarity between the recombinant proteins and their endogenous counterparts. Another issue facing detection efforts is the speed and conditions at which blood samples are collected and analyzed in a sports setting. Recently, gene doping, which stemmed out of legitimate gene therapy trials, has emerged as the next level of doping. Erythropoietin (EPO), human growth hormone (hGH), insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-delta (PPAR delta), and myostatin inhibitor genes have been identified as primary targets for doping. Sports clinical scientists today are racing against the clock because assuring the continued integrity of sports competition depends on their ability to outpace the efforts of dopers by developing new detection strategies.

Original document


9 November 2005
Azzazy, Hassan M.E.
Christenson, Robert H.
Mansour, Mai M.H.
United States of America
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American University in Cairo (AUC)
University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM)
Doping classes
M3. Gene And Cell Doping
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Gene Therapy
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Scientific article
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Pdf file
Date generated
8 December 2021
Date of last modification
13 December 2021
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