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Advances in the Detection of Growth Hormone Releasing Hormone Synthetic Analogs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Siham Memdouh, Ivana Gavrilović, Kelsey Ng, David Cowan, Vincenzo Abbate

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1871-1887
Number of pages17
JournalDrug Testing And Analysis
Issue number11-12
Early online date7 Nov 2021
Accepted/In press7 Oct 2021
E-pub ahead of print7 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © 2021 The Authors. Drug Testing and Analysis published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


King's Authors


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.

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