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Sports drug testing: Analytical aspects of selected cases of suspected, purported, and proven urine manipulation

Reputable Mentor II
Reputable Mentor II
Thevis M, Geyer H, Sigmund G, Schänzer W.
J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2012 Jan 5;57:26-32.
Manipulation of urine specimens provided by elite athletes for doping control purposes has been reported several times in the past, and in most of these cases urine substitution was eventually proven. Recent findings of suspected and substantiated manipulation have outlined the complexity and diversity of tampering options, sample appearance alterations resulting from non-manipulative influence, and the analytical challenges arising from these scenarios. Using state-of-the-art mass spectrometric and immunological doping control and forensic chemistry methodologies, four unusual findings were observed. One sports drug testing specimen was found to contain an unusually high content of saccharides accompanied by hordenine and Serpine-Z4, while no endogenous steroid (e.g. testosterone, epitestosterone, androsterone and etiocholanolone) was detected. This specimen was identified as non-alcoholic beer filled into the doping control sample container, constituting an undisputed doping offense. A doping control sample of bright green color was received and found to contain residues of methylene blue, which is not considered relevant for doping controls as no masking or manipulative effect is known. In addition, the number of urine samples of raspberry to crimson red coloration received at doping control laboratories has constantly increased during the last years, attributed to the presence of hemoglobin or betanin/isobetanin. Also here, no doping rule violation was given and an impact on routine analytical results was not observed. Finally, a total of 8 sports drug testing samples collected at different competition sites was shown to contain identical urine specimens as indicated by steroid profile analysis and conclusively proven by DNA-STR (short tandem repeat) analysis. Here, the athletes in question were not involved in the urine substitution act but the doping control officer was convicted of sample manipulation.
Institute of Biochemistry - Center for Preventive Doping Research, German Sport University Cologne, Am Sportpark Müngersdorf 6, 50933 Cologne, Germany.
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