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Anal Bioanal Chem. 2007 Aug;388(7):1539-43. Epub 2007 Jan 27.

Detection of manipulation in doping control urine sample collection: a multidisciplinary approach to determine identical urine samples.

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Center for Preventive Doping Research - Institute of Biochemistry, German Sport University Cologne, Carl-Diem-Weg 6, 50933 Cologne, Germany.


Manipulation of urine sampling in sports drug testing is considered a violation of anti-doping rules and is consequently sanctioned by regulatory authorities. In 2003, three identical urine specimens were provided by three different athletes, and the identity of all urine samples was detected and substantiated using numerous analytical strategies including gas chromatography-mass spectrometry with steroid and metabolite profiling, gas chromatography-nitrogen/phosphorus detector analysis, high-performance liquid chromatography-UV fingerprinting, and DNA-STR (short tandem repeat) analysis. None of the respective athletes was the donor of the urine provided for doping analysis, which proved to be a urine sample collected from other unidentified individual(s). Samples were considered suspicious based on identical steroid profiles, one of the most important parameters for specimen individualization in sports drug testing. A database containing 14,224 urinary steroid profiles of athletes was screened for specific values of 4 characteristic parameters (ratios of testosterone/epitestosterone, androsterone/etiocholanolone, androsterone/testosterone, and 5alpha-androstane-3alpha,17beta-diol/5beta-androstane-3alpha,17beta-diol) and only the three suspicious samples matched all criteria. Further metabolite profiling regarding indicated medications and high-performance liquid chromatography-UV fingerprinting substantiated the assumption of manipulation. DNA-STR analyses unequivocally confirmed that the 3 urine samples were from the same individual and not from the athletes who provided DNA from either buccal cell material or blood specimens. This supportive evidence led to punishment of all three athletes according to the rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency. Application of a new multidisciplinary strategy employing common and new doping control assays enables the detection of urine substitution in sports drug testing.

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