Advances in the detection of growth hormone releasing hormone synthetic analogs

Advances in the detection of growth hormone releasing hormone synthetic analogs / Siham Memdouh, Ivana Gavrilović, Kelsey Ng, David Cowan, Vincenzo Abbate

  • Drug Testing and Analysis 13 (2021) 11-12 (November-December), p. 1871-1887
  • Special Issue: The 39th Manfred Donike workshop on doping analysis
  • PMID: 34665524
  • DOI: 10.1002/dta.3183


The administration of growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH) and its synthetic analogs is prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Although there is evidence of their use, based on admissions and intelligence, they do not appear to have been found in anti-doping samples by WADA accredited laboratories. This might be due to their small concentration in urine and limited knowledge about their metabolism, especially for unapproved synthetic analogs. This study investigates the in vitro metabolism and detection of four of the larger GHRH synthetic analogs (sermorelin, tesamorelin, CJC-1295, and CJC-1295 with drug affinity complex) in fortified urine. Nineteen major in vitro metabolites were identified, selected for synthesis, purified, and characterized in house. These were used as reference materials to spike into urine together with commercially available parent peptides and a metabolite of sermorelin (sermorelin(3-29)-NH2 ) to develop a sensitive liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method for their detection to help prove GHRH administration. Limits of detection of the target peptides were generally 1 ng/ml (WADA required performance limit) or less.

Original document


Research / Study
7 November 2021
Abbate, Vincenzo
Cowan, David A.
Gavrilović, Ivana
Memdouh, Siham
Ng, Kelsey
United Kingdom
Other organisations
King's College London (KCL)
London, United Kingdom: Drug Control Centre
Analytical aspects
Mass spectrometry analysis
Testing method development
Doping classes
S2. Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors
Growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH)
Document category
Scientific article
Document type
Pdf file
Date generated
20 January 2022
Date of last modification
27 January 2022
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