13C/12C isotope ratio MS analysis of testosterone, in chemicals and pharmaceutical preparations

J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2001 Feb;24(4):645-50. doi: 10.1016/s0731-7085(00)00452-0.


The 13C/12C ratio can be used to detect testosterone misuse in sport because (semi)-synthetic testosterone is supposed to have a 13C abundance different from that of endogenous natural human testosterone. In this study, gas chromatography/combustion isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC/C/IRMS) analysis for the measurement of the delta 13C/1000 value of testosterone from esterified forms of 13 pharmaceutical preparations, six reagent grade chemicals and three bulk materials (raw materials used in pharmaceutical proarations) obtained world-wide was investigated after applying a strong acidic solvolytic procedure. Mean delta 13C/1000 values of non esterified (free) testosterone from chemicals and bulk materials of several testosterone esters were in the range: -25.91/-32.82/1000 while the value obtained for a (semi)-synthetic, reagent grade, free testosterone was -27.36/1000. The delta 13C/1000 results obtained for testosterone from the pharmaceuticals investigated containing testosterone esters were quite homogeneous (mean and S.D. of delta 13C/1000 values of free testosterone: 27.43 +/- 0.76/1000), being the range between -26.18 and -30.04/1000. Values described above were clearly different from those reported by several authors for endogenous natural human testosterone and its main metabolites excreted into the urine in non-consumers of testosterone (delta 13C/1000 range: from -21.3 to -24.4/1000), while they were similar to those of urinary testosterone and metabolites from individuals treated with testosterone esters and testosterone precursors. This finding justifies the fact that administration of these pharmaceutical formulations led to a statistical decrease of carbon isotope ratio of urinary testosterone and its main metabolites in treated subjects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carbon
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / chemistry*
  • Testosterone / analysis*


  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Testosterone
  • Carbon