Clinical chemistry is the branch of medical biology that focuses on the analysis of molecules present in bodily fluids (blood, cerebrospinal liquid, urine, etc.). Such analyses are normally carried out in order to determine the physiopathological cause of a disease.
Clinical chemistry relies on a number of automated devices that measure a large number of parameters, such as:
- Ions (sodium, potassium, bicarbonate, iron, ...)
- Proteins (total protein, transferrin, globulins, albumin, AST, ALT, ...)
- Hormones (testosterone, LH, hCG, cortisol, EPO, hGH, ...)
- Others (glucose, osmolality, ...)
In accordance with WADA directives, LAD systematically analyzes all urine samples collected from male athletes to determine the levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) and Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This rule is explained by the fact that LH doping may lead to an increase in endogenous testosterone (an anabolic steroid) and hCG may be used to counter-balance certain side effects of testosterone doping.
The same analyses may also be conducted for female urine samples in response to specific demands or when other analyses yield abnormal results.
The measuring principles in automated lab analyzers used to determine important parameters in the clinical chemistry of hormonology depend on the type of instrument and on the nature of the substances under scrutiny. The most common measuring techniques are immunological and/or photometric (turbidimetry and nephelometry).
The other parameters listed above are also important for many clinical studies and research and development field.