Novel serum protein biomarkers indicative of growth hormone doping in healthy human subjects

Proteomics. 2011 Sep;11(17):3565-71. doi: 10.1002/pmic.201100077. Epub 2011 Jul 27.


The detection of recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) is difficult due to its short half-life; therefore, novel and robust biomarkers of rhGH abuse are needed. In this study, serum samples derived from subjects treated with rhGH in a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled crossover study were analyzed by 2-DE coupled with MS. Eight healthy male subjects aged 23.2±0.6 years were injected with rhGH (2 mg/day) or saline for 7 days with serum samples drawn at days 0, 3, and 8. Protein intensities were quantified and analyzed for differences between rhGH and placebo treatments. Proteins that showed significant changes were identified and confirmed by Western blotting. These included specific isoforms of α-1 antitrypsin and transthyretin that increased; and inter-α-trypsin inhibitor heavy chain H4, apolipoprotein A-1, and hemoglobin β chain that decreased. These proteins represent novel biomarkers of short-term rhGH exposure and may lead to a new method for detecting rhGH doping.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Proteins / analysis*
  • Doping in Sports
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Human Growth Hormone / administration & dosage
  • Human Growth Hormone / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Recombinant Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Recombinant Proteins / blood*
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods*
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Human Growth Hormone