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Drug Test Anal. 2012 Nov;4(11):818-29. doi: 10.1002/dta.1381. Epub 2012 Jul 5.

Detection of EPO-Fc fusion protein in human blood: screening and confirmation protocols for sports drug testing.

Author information

1
Doping Control Laboratory, AIT Seibersdorf Laboratories, A-2444 Seibersdorf, Austria. christian.reichel@seibersdorf-laboratories.at

Abstract

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.

PMID:
22764129
DOI:
10.1002/dta.1381
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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