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No IGF-1 in fake Igtropin

Pharmacological bodybuilders who have used IGF-1 preparation Igtropin in the near past, and suspect that the stuff did not work or hardly worked, were not imagining anything. There are fake Igtropin preparations out there that do not contain IGF-1, but a completely different peptide. This is evident from an analysis that Belgian researchers published in 2017 in Drug Testing and Analysis.

The researchers, affiliated with the Scientific Institute of Public Health in Brussels, analyzed the Igtropin you see below. The product was confiscated by the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products. Watch the typo.

No IGF-1 in fake Igtropin

During a first analysis, the researchers discovered that although there were proteins in Igtropin, it was not IGF-1.

No IGF-1 in fake Igtropin

When the Belgians further analyzed the contents of the preparation with LC/MS/MS, they discovered that the product contained epidermal growth factor [EGF].

EGF is a peptide that consists of 53 amino acids. It attaches to the EGF receptor and then stimulates the development and growth of cells. In experiments, synthetic EGF accelerates the healing of wounds. [Int J Low Extrem Wounds. 2016 Jun;15(2):120-5.]

Scientists wonder whether EGF will ever be used as a medicine. EGF may have serious side effects, as the substance plays a role in the metastasis of tumors. In oncology, researchers are working on cancer medicines that eliminate the effects of EGF in the body.

No IGF-1 in fake Igtropin

Purification issues
The story is not over yet. The Belgians discovered something odd with the EGF in the preparation. Peptides produced by recombinant technology are chains of amino acids, with as a rule a methionine unit at their end [the N-terminal, chemists say]. This methionine unit was missing from the EGF in the Igtropin preparation.

It is theoretically possible to remove such a methionine unit from a synthesized peptide with enzymes. This may have happened with the EGF in the analyzed preparation. But there is another explanation for the lack of methionine at the N-terminal, the researchers write: perhaps the producers have recovered the protein from urine. [Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1975 Apr;72(4):1317-21.] And that raises additional questions about the safety of this product. Has it been purified properly? If not, urinary products may transmit diseases...

Drug Test Anal. 2017 May;9(5):831-7.

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