Bioanalytical detection of steroid abuse in sports based on the androgenic activity measurement

Pilar Martín-Escudero*, Jesus A. Muñoz-Guerra, Soledad Vargas García-Tenorio, Ester Serrano-Garde, Ana Belén Soldevilla-Navarro, Nuria Cortes-Carrillo, Mercedes Galindo-Canales, Nayade Del Prado, Manuel Fuentes-Ferrer, Cristina Fernández-Pérez, Peter Alexander Behnisch, Abraham Brouwer

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    The anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) are the most frequently consumed performance enhancing drugs (PED) in sports. In the anti-doping field, the detection of AAS is carried out by the analysis of the athlete’s urine using methodologies based on liquid/gas chromatography-mass spec-trometry. Unfortunately, the detection of unknown compounds is not possible. BDS’s AR CALUX® bio detection technology was studied as an indirect method to detect the administration of a single dose of testosterone (T). Twelve T and placebo single dose administered men volunteers underwent a triple-blind crossover clinical trial. The UGT2B17 deletion was present among the volunteers and evenly distributed in heterozygous (ins/del), wild-type homozygous (ins/ins), and mutated homozy-gous (del/del) groups. A significant statistical difference in terms of bioluminescence was observed after the testosterone (T) administration for the three types of polymorphic groups. The ratio of means between the pre-and post-T administration periods, depending on the type of polymorphism, was in group ins/ins 3.31 (CI. 95%: 2.07–5.29), group ins/del 4.15 (CI 95%: 3.05–5.67), and group del/del 2.89 (CI 95%: 2.42–3.46). The results of the study are very promising, as they may offer us the possibility of designing a detection approach that, based on intra-individual monitoring of androgenic values, in the UGT2B17 deletion type.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number62
    Pages (from-to)1-12
    Number of pages12
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    The study was funded by grants awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (DEP2016?78559-R; sub-program DEPO; DEP2012-40156) for competitive investigation.

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

    Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


    • Androgenic activity
    • AR CALUX®
    • Athlete biological passport
    • Doping
    • Sport
    • Steroid profile
    • Testosterone administration
    • UGT2B17 genotype


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