Analysis of endogenous steroids in urine by means of multi-immunoaffinity chromatography and isotope ratio mass spectrometry for sports drug testing.Anal Bioanal Chem. 2019 Nov; 411(28):7563-7571.AB
Detecting the administration of naturally occurring but synthetically derived steroids (e.g., testosterone) in routine doping controls is particularly laborious and time-consuming. Carbon isotope signatures determined by isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) have been established as the method of choice to generate confirmatory evidence in case of suspicious or atypical findings in steroid profile analyses; however, IRMS measurements require sophisticated sample preparation methods employing up to two high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) purification steps. Here, an alternative sample preparation approach is presented. Immunoaffinity chromatography (IAC) was employed to reduce the batch analysis time by omitting the time-consuming HPLC purification steps, while pre- and post-IAC sample handling followed published protocols. IAC exploits specific antibody-immunogen interactions, and the option of combining three immunoaffinity gels containing specific antibodies for testosterone, pregnanediol, and 11-ketoetiocholanolone into a multi-immunoaffinity sample preparation approach was assessed. Due to cross reactivities, also etiocholanolone, androsterone, 5β-androstanediol, and 5α-androstanediol were co-extracted and included in the testing protocol. The method was validated by determining precision, recovery, and carry over, and performing linear mixing models. IAC was found to be applicable to the determination of carbon isotope ratios in doping controls and the approach allowed for an accelerated sample preparation. Graphical abstract.