Together with steroid glucuronides, sulfoconjugates may be used as markers of steroid administration as well as endogenous steroid production. A fast and sensitive analytical procedure has been developed for the simultaneous separation, determination and quantification of sulfate and glucuronide derivatives of testosterone (T), epitestosterone (E), androsterone (A), etiocholanolone (Etio) and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in human urine. First, a weak anion-exchange solid-phase extraction support (SPE Oasis WAX) was used for complete and rapid separation of sulfates and glucuronides in two extracts after loading of urine sample (2 mL). Then sulfates were analyzed directly by high-performance liquid chromatography-ion-trap mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) with electrospray ionization in negative mode. Chromatographic separation of the targeted sulfoconjugates was achieved using a Waters XBridge C18 column (150 mm × 4.6 mm I.D., 5 μm) with gradient elution. Assay validation demonstrated good performance for instance for T sulfate (TS) and E sulfate (ES) in terms of trueness (89-107%), repeatability (3.4-22%) and intermediate precision (5.8-22%) over the range of 2-200 ng/mL (corresponding to 1.5-147 ng/mL as free steroids). Results obtained on biological samples demonstrated the suitability of this analytical strategy for direct measurement of androgen sulfoconjugates and glucuroconjugates in human urine.
- Endogenous steroids
- Linear ion-trap mass spectrometry
- Mixed-mode polymeric anion-exchange
- Phase II metabolism
- Solid-phase extraction