Helsingin yliopisto


Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006

Novel Mass Spectrometric Analysis Methods for Anabolic Androgenic Steroids in Sports Drug Testing

Antti Leinonen

Doctoral dissertation, May 2006.
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Pharmacy, Division of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Doping Control Laboratory, United Laboratories Ltd.

The feasibility of different modern analytical techniques for the mass spectrometric detection of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) in human urine was examined in order to enhance the prevalent analytics and to find reasonable strategies for effective sports drug testing.

A comparative study of the sensitivity and specificity between gas chromatography (GC) combined with low (LRMS) and high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) in screening of AAS was carried out with four metabolites of methandienone. Measurements were done in selected ion monitoring mode with HRMS using a mass resolution of 5000. With HRMS the detection limits were considerably lower than with LRMS, enabling detection of steroids at low 0.2-0.5 ng/ml levels. However, also with HRMS, the biological background hampered the detection of some steroids.

The applicability of liquid-phase microextraction (LPME) was studied with metabolites of fluoxymesterone, 4-chlorodehydromethyltestosterone, stanozolol and danazol. Factors affecting the extraction process were studied and a novel LPME method with in-fiber silylation was developed and validated for GC/MS analysis of the danazol metabolite. The method allowed precise, selective and sensitive analysis of the metabolite and enabled simultaneous filtration, extraction, enrichment and derivatization of the analyte from urine without any other steps in sample preparation.

Liquid chromatographic/tandem mass spectrometric (LC/MS/MS) methods utilizing electrospray ionization (ESI), atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) and atmospheric pressure photoionization (APPI) were developed and applied for detection of oxandrolone and metabolites of stanozolol and 4-chlorodehydromethyltestosterone in urine. All methods exhibited high sensitivity and specificity. ESI showed, however, the best applicability, and a LC/ESI-MS/MS method for routine screening of nine 17-alkyl-substituted AAS was thus developed enabling fast and precise measurement of all analytes with detection limits below 2 ng/ml.

The potential of chemometrics to resolve complex GC/MS data was demonstrated with samples prepared for AAS screening. Acquired full scan spectral data (m/z 40-700) were processed by the OSCAR algorithm (Optimization by Stepwise Constraints of Alternating Regression). The deconvolution process was able to dig out from a GC/MS run more than the double number of components as compared with the number of visible chromatographic peaks. Severely overlapping components, as well as components hidden in the chromatographic background could be isolated successfully.

All studied techniques proved to be useful analytical tools to improve detection of AAS in urine. Superiority of different procedures is, however, compound-dependent and different techniques complement each other.

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Last updated 28.04.2006

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