Background: Performance enhancement substances and methods other than exercise training and physical conditioning have become a major problem in athletic competitions. Over the last few years, there has been an increase in the number of these doping approaches used by some athletes, including pharmaceuticals, slightly modified endogenous compounds and also blood transfusions. In order to control and prevent these doping practices by athletes, World Anti-Doping Agency has stipulated several guidelines and approved various methods on the basis of reproducibility, sensitivity and adaptability. The number, design and type of doping substances are increasing on daily basis necessitating the rapid development of analytical methods to detect these substances and to prevent doping.
Objective: In this review, we address the various methodological developments in the last few years to track down the novel doping substances as well as doping methods.
Results: There have been significant advances in the area of mass spectroscopy and the associated detection devices to measure small quantities of test substance or their metabolites in body tissues and fluids. Some of the doping substances have short biological half-life but leave imprints of their action in the form of altered gene expression, protein expression or metabolism, which can be detected by OMICs technologies.
Conclusion: The rapid advance in biological instrumentation and our understanding of the molecular basis of the actions of doping substances have paved the way to enforce ‘true play' in athletic competitions. But this is an incessant and a continuous process as long as the doping practices continue.