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Reichel C.,Doping Control Laboratory | Reichel C.,European Monitoring Center for Emerging Doping Agents | Thevis M.,German Sport University Cologne | Thevis M.,European Monitoring Center for Emerging Doping Agents
Drug Testing and Analysis | Year: 2012

The neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) has been under investigation for several years as a pharmaceutical drug target. Clinical studies have shown that fusion proteins consisting of human recombinant erythropoietin (rhEPO) and the Fc-part of IgG can be transported after pulmonary administration via FcRn across the airway epithelium to the blood stream. So far, no clinically approved pharmaceutical formulation of EPO-Fc is available. Since various forms of recombinant erythropoietins have been frequently misused by athletes as performance-enhancing agents, EPO-Fc might play a similar role in sports in the future. In order to investigate the detectability of EPO-Fc in human blood, different strategies were tested and developed. Only two of them fulfilled the necessary requirements regarding sensitivity and specificity. A rapid protocol useful for screening purposes first enriches EPO-Fc from human serum via high capacity protein A beads and subsequently detects EPO-Fc in the eluate with a commercial EPO ELISA kit. The limit of detection (LOD) of the method is about 5 pg (45 amol) EPO-Fc and is independent of the serum volume used. For screening and/or confirmation purposes a second protocol was evaluated, which consists of a fast EPO immunopurification step followed by sodium dodecyl sulfate or sarcosyl polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE, SAR-PAGE) and Western double-blotting with chemiluminescence detection - a method already established in routine EPO anti-doping control. The latter strategy allows the detection of EPO-Fc in serum together with all other recombinant erythropoietins and with an identical LOD (5 pg/45 amol) as for the rapid screening protocol. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Source

Thevis M.,German Sport University Cologne | Schanzer W.,European Monitoring Center for Emerging Doping Agents
Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis | Year: 2014

The number and diversity of potentially performance-enhancing substances is continuously growing, fueled by new pharmaceutical developments but also by the inventiveness and, at the same time, unscrupulousness of black-market (designer) drug producers and providers. In terms of sports drug testing, this situation necessitates reactive as well as proactive research and expansion of the analytical armamentarium to ensure timely, adequate, and comprehensive doping controls. This review summarizes literature published over the past 5 years on new drug entities, discontinued therapeutics, and 'tailored' compounds classified as doping agents according to the regulations of the World Anti-Doping Agency, with particular attention to analytical strategies enabling their detection in human blood or urine. Among these compounds, low- and high-molecular mass substances of peptidic (e.g. modified insulin-like growth factor-1, TB-500, hematide/peginesatide, growth hormone releasing peptides, AOD-9604, etc.) and non-peptidic (selective androgen receptor modulators, hypoxia-inducible factor stabilizers, siRNA, S-107 and ARM036/aladorian, etc.) as well as inorganic (cobalt) nature are considered and discussed in terms of specific requirements originating from physicochemical properties, concentration levels, metabolism, and their amenability for chromatographic-mass spectrometric or alternative detection methods. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Source

Thevis M.,German Sport University Cologne | Thevis M.,European Monitoring Center for Emerging Doping Agents | Thomas A.,German Sport University Cologne | Geyer H.,German Sport University Cologne | Schanzer W.,German Sport University Cologne
Growth Hormone and IGF Research | Year: 2014

Objective: Since Goldspink and colleagues identified the expression of the mRNA of an insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) isoform in response to mechanical stress in 1996, substantial research into the so-called mechano growth factor and its modus operandi followed until today. Promising preclinical results were obtained by using the synthetic, 24-amino acid residues spanning peptide translated from the exons 4-6 of IGF-1Ec (which was later referred to as the mechano growth factor (MGF) peptide), particularly with regard to increased muscle myoblast proliferation. Consequently, the MGF peptide represented a promising drug candidate for the treatment of neuromuscular disorders; however, its misuse potential in sport was also identified shortly thereafter, and the substance (or class of substances) has been considered prohibited according to the regulations of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) since 2005. While various MGF peptide versions have been known to sports drug testing authorities, the occurrence of a 'full-length MGF' as offered via illicit channels to athletes or athletes' managers was reported in 2014, arguably being undetectable in doping controls. Methods: An aliquot of the product was obtained and the content characterized by state-of-the-art analytical approaches including gel electrophoretic and mass spectrometric (top-down and bottom-up) sequencing approaches. Upon full characterization, its implementation into modified routine doping controls using ultrafiltration, immunoaffinity-based isolation, and nanoliquid chromatography-high resolution/high accuracy mass spectrometry was established. Results: A protein with a monoisotopic molecular mass of 12264.9. Da and a sequence closely related to IGF-1Ec (lacking the signal- and propeptide moiety) was identified. The C-terminus was found to be modified by the elimination of the terminal lysine and a R109H substitution. With the knowledge of the compound's composition, existing doping control assays targeting peptide hormones such as IGF-1 and related substances were assessed as to their capability to detect the full-length MGF. The analyte was detectable at concentrations of 0.25. ng/mL using adapted routine test methods employing immunoaffinity purification followed by nanoscale liquid chromatography-high resolution/high accuracy (tandem) mass spectrometry. Conclusions: A potentially performance enhancing 'full-length' MGF derivative was identified and successfully implemented into sports drug testing protocols. Future tests are indicated probing for optimized/dedicated detection methods and assessment of efficacy and elimination kinetics of the substance. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Hoppner S.,German Sport University Cologne | Delahaut P.,CER Groupe | Schanzer W.,German Sport University Cologne | Thevis M.,German Sport University Cologne | Thevis M.,European Monitoring Center for Emerging Doping Agents
Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis | Year: 2014

The NAD+ depending enzyme SIRT1 regulates the mitochondrial biogenesis, fat and glucose metabolism through catalyzing the deacetylation of several metabolism-related protein-substrates. Recently, synthetic activators of SIRT1 referred to as STACs (Sirtuin activating compounds, e.g. SRT2104) were identified and tested in clinical studies for the treatment of aging-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's and obesity. Although the mechanism of SIRT1 activation by small molecules has caused considerable controversy, STACs demonstrated a significant performance enhancement in mice experiments including an improvement of endurance, muscle strength, and locomotor behavior. Due to their potential to increase exercise tolerance in healthy individuals, SIRT1 activators are currently being monitored by anti-doping authorities. In the present study, the in vivo metabolic clearance of three SIRT1 activators was investigated in rats by the collection of urine, DBS (dried blood spots) and plasma samples following a single oral administration. The resulting metabolic products were studied by positive electrospray ionization - (tandem) mass spectrometry and confirmed by the comparison with in vitro generated metabolites using human and rat liver microsomal preparations. Subsequently, a screening procedure for five SIRT1 activators and the metabolite M1-SRT1720 in DBS specimens was developed. Liquid-liquid-extraction and liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry was employed based on diagnostic ion transitions recorded in multiple reaction monitoring mode and two deuterated internal standards namely d8-SRT1720 and d8-M1-SRT1720 were utilized. The doping control assay was characterized with regard to specificity, limit of detection (10-50ng/ml), recovery (65-83%) and imprecision (7-20%) and ion suppression/enhancement effects (<10%), demonstrating its fitness-for-purpose for sports drug testing applications. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. Source

Beuck S.,German Sport University Cologne | Schanzer W.,German Sport University Cologne | Thevis M.,German Sport University Cologne | Thevis M.,European Monitoring Center for Emerging Doping Agents
Drug Testing and Analysis | Year: 2012

Increasing the blood's capacity for oxygen transport by erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) constitutes a prohibited procedure of performance enhancement according to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The advent of orally bio-available small-molecule ESAs such as hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) stabilizers in the development of novel anti-anaemia therapies expands the list of potential ESA doping techniques. Here, the erythropoiesis-stimulating properties and doping relevance of experimental HIF-stabilizers, such as cobaltous chloride, 3,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid or GSK360A, amongst others, are discussed. The stage of clinical trials is reviewed for the anti-anaemia drug candidates FG-2216, FG-4592, GSK1278863, AKB-6548, and BAY85-3934. Currently available methods and strategies for the determination of selected HIF stabilizers in sports drug testing are based on liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS/MS). For the support of further analytical assay development, patents claiming distinct compounds for the use in HIF-mediated therapies are evaluated and exemplary molecular structures of HIF stabilizers presented. Moreover, data concerning the erythropoiesis-enhancing effects of the GATA inhibitors K7174 and K11706 as well as the lipidic small-molecule ESA PBI-1402 are elucidated the context of doping analysis. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Source

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