Research Highlight

Chemical gaze over doping

doi:10.1038/nindia.2009.37 Published online 13 February 2009

Researchers have designed two modified electrodes to detect traces of prednisolone, an anti-inflammatory steroid drug in human urine and blood sample1. One of the electrodes is gold modified with fullerene, a form of big carbon molecule containing 60 carbon atoms. The other electrode is indium tin oxide (ITO) modified with gold nanoparticles. Both can be used to test doping among athletes.

Long term high doses of prednisolone produces serious side effects including fluid retention, weight gain, and high blood pressure. The drug is also banned in sports under anti-doping rules.

The researchers took gold and ITO electrodes and modified them with fullerene and gold nanoparticles. First, the electrodes were exposed to varying concentrations of prednisolone and then to urine and blood samples from prednisolone-treated patients. The significant increase in current with the sharpness showed that gold nanoparticles as well as fullerene act as efficient promoters to enhance the rate of electron transfer.

Fullerene-modified gold electrode is nearly ten times more sensitive for determination of prednisolone in comparison to nanogold modified ITO electrode.

The simplicity, sensitivity and short analysis time of this method can be used for quantification of prednisolone in bulk form and in human biological fluids.

The authors of this work are from: Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, India and Graduate School of Engineering, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.


  1. Goyal, N. R. et al. Fullerene C60 modified gold electrode and nanogold modified indium tin oxide electrode for prednisolone determination. Bioelectrochemistry 74, 272-277 (2009) | Article |