The Androgen Receptor and Its Use in Biological Assays: Looking Toward Effect-Based Testing and Its Applications

Laboratorio Antidoping, Federazione Medico Sportiva Italiana, Largo Giulio Onesti, Rome, Italy.
Journal of analytical toxicology (Impact Factor: 2.86). 11/2011; 35(9):594-607. DOI: 10.1093/anatox/35.9.594
Source: PubMed


Steroid abuse is a growing problem among amateur and professional athletes. Because of an inundation of newly and illegally synthesized steroids with minor structural modifications and other designer steroid receptor modulators, there is a need to develop new methods of detection which do not require prior knowledge of the abused steroid structure. The number of designer steroids currently being abused is unknown because detection methods in general are only identifying substances with a known structure. The detection of doping is moving away from merely checking for exposure to prohibited substance toward detecting an effect of prohibited substances, as biological assays can do. Cell-based biological assays are the next generation of assays which should be utilized by antidoping laboratories; they can detect androgenic anabolic steroid and other human androgen receptor (hAR) ligand presence without knowledge of their structure and assess the relative biological activity of these compounds. This review summarizes the hAR and its action and discusses its relevance to sports doping and its use in biological assays.

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