Doping Test for Anabolic Steroids Should Take into Account Athlete’s Ethnicity
Swiss scientists discovered that the steroid test used by the World Anti-Drug Agency (WADA) can not be used for its original purpose, since it does not take into account ethnic characteristics of the athletes. It is considered that the use of steroids can be detected from the ratio of testosterone to inactive forms of epitestosterone in the athlete’s urine (T:E ratio). Currently, 4:1 is considered to be normal ratio, which was established with the help of gas chromatography method.
The authors of the study examined steroid profiles and variability of the UGT2B17 gene, which affects steroid metabolism, in soccer players from various ethic groups: 57 Africans, 32 Asians, and 50 Caucasians.
The received data helped the scientists to estimate normal T:E ratio according to the racial group. It turns out, that Africans have this ratio at 5.6:1, while Asians at 3.8:1, Latinos at 5.8:1, and Caucasians at 5.7:1. At the same time, UGT2B17 gene variations were established to be 22%, 81%, and 10% respectively.
The results of the study showed that the currently used doping test for anabolic steroids can not produce adequate results. In this regard, the scientists recommended to have a hormonal passport for each athlete, according to which they will be able to track fluctuations in the hormone levels due to the use of anabolic steroids.