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A novel and innovative hair test to determine glucocorticoid levels in racing camels for use in assessment of doping, health, and disease.

  • Shah, Iltaf1
  • Haddow, Jody D1
  • Ibrahim, Hiba A1
  • Sheikh, Maryam V A1
  • Alhemeiri, Fatima S A1
  • 1 Department of Chemistry, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, UAE. , (United Arab Emirates)
Published Article
Drug Testing and Analysis
Wiley (John Wiley & Sons)
Publication Date
Oct 09, 2017
DOI: 10.1002/dta.2311
PMID: 28994213


The aim of this project was to develop and validate a new test for the analysis of glucocorticoids in camel hair and to use the new test to analyse hair samples from a variety of camel breeds in sports and racing applications. These findings could be of importance when evaluating racing camels for suspected doping offenses or for injury and disease control. Camel hair samples were collected from 30 non-racing dromedary camels along with 3 racing camels in Al Ain, UAE and were decontaminated, pulverised, sonicated, and extracted prior to analysis. A liquid chromatographic-mass spectrometric method was employed to determine the levels of glucocorticoids in the hair samples. The 4 drugs of interest, namely hydrocortisone, dexamethasone, flumethasone and methylprednisolone, and an internal standard were quantified in camel hair samples. All 4 of the glucocorticoids were detected in camel hair samples with concentrations ranging between 31 and 935 pg/mg for hydrocortisone, 8-59 pg/mg for dexamethasone, 0.7-1034 pg/mg for flumethasone and 5-66 pg/mg for methylprednisolone in non-racing camels. One of the racing camels displayed high concentrations of hydrocortisone (1130 pg/mg), flumethasone (2576 pg/mg), methylprednisone (1156 pg/mg) and dexamethasone (29 pg/mg). The authors believe this is the first report of a test for corticosteroids in camel hair. The new test has been validated according to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines. This new hair test could be useful for further studies in doping control, toxicological studies, pharmacological studies and other clinical applications in camel health, injury, and disease.

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