Insulin-mimetic peptides in sports drug testing

Publication: Contribution to journalJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


Because of its influence on carbohydrate metabolism and, at the same time, anti-catabolic effects, the misuse of the peptide hormone insulin and its synthetic analogs is prohibited in sports at all times according to the regulations of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The biological effects of insulin and its analogs are mediated through binding to the insulin receptor, which was also found to be activated by different peptides structurally largely unrelated to insulin. Such insulin-mimetic peptides or selective-insulin receptor modulators (SIRMs) represent a novel class of potential performance-enhancing agents, which is currently not explicitly mentioned on the WADA Prohibited List. Within this research project, advanced solid-phase extraction (SPE) and liquid chromatography coupled to high-resolution tandem mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS/MS) were employed to develop a fast, reliable, and specific assay for the detection of the insulin-mimetic peptides S597 and S519 from plasma. Method validation demonstrated a detection limit of 0.5 ng/mL and successfully illustrated the applicability of the approach to routine sports drug testing programs. Moreover, sophisticated and comprehensive in vitro metabolism experiments were conducted, and several metabolic degradation products were identified, which will enhance the information generated from future analyses of doping control samples.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDrug testing and analysis
Issue number11-12
Pages (from-to)1468-1476
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Research areas and keywords

  • Substance Abuse Detection/methods
  • Receptor, Insulin
  • Insulin
  • Sports
  • Doping in Sports/methods
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry/methods


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