New research provides a method to detect the performance-enhancing agent peginesatide in horses
Peginesatide is the first representative of a new class of compounds that mimic the effects of erythropoietin; these include an increase in the number of red blood cells and of haemoglobin levels in the blood.
Both of these increase endurance and, as a so-called erythropoiesis-stimulating agent, are banned in human and equine sports.
The approval of the use of peginesatide by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat anaemia in patients on dialysis increases its availability and the chance of its use in illegal performance enhancement.
A new mass spectrometry method for detecting peginesatide in humans has already been developed, and now the extension of this for the detection of peginesatide in horse serum is described in an article published in the European Journal of Mass Spectrometry, written by Ines Möller, Andreas Thomas, Anke Wingender, Marc Machnik, Wilhelm Schänzer and Mario Thevis from the German Sport University Cologne, in Germany.
The research is timely since the German Equestrian Federation recently added peginesatide to its banned substance list.
The new method uses electrospray ionisation liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry.
According to lead author Mario Thevis: “The method is precise, specific and linear over a wide concentration range.
“Further, being simple, fast, cost effective, easily transferable to other laboratories and in accordance with the criteria for ‘identification by chromatography and mass spectrometry’ outlined by the Association of Official Racing Chemists, the method is suitable for routine use in the horse sports drug testing arena.”
Ines Möller, Andreas Thomas, Anke Wingender, Marc Machnik, Wilhelm Schänzer and Mario Thevis, “Detection of peginesatide in equine serum using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry for doping control purposes”, Eur. J. Mass Spectrom. 18(4), in press (2012), http://dx.doi.org/10.1255/ejms.1189