Simultaneous determination of serum cortisol and cortisone by reversed-phase liquid chromatography with ultraviolet detection

J Chromatogr. 1992 Dec 23;584(2):147-55. doi: 10.1016/0378-4347(92)80570-g.


A rapid high-performance liquid chromatographic (HPLC) method for the simultaneous determination of cortisol and cortisone in a single extract of 1 ml of serum is described. The method employs meprednisone as the internal standard. The steroids were analysed isocratically by reversed-phase HPLC with an octadecylsilane-bonded (ODS) column using ultraviolet detection. The matrix effect was reduced by lowering the sample pH by adding glacial acetic acid to the sera. The samples were then filtered through regenerated cellulose membranes at 4 degrees C and extracted with diethyl ether. The dried eluates were redissolved in the mobile phase and injected into the column. The detection limit of the assay for both steroids was 500 ng/l. Cortisol was determined in twenty serum samples by both HPLC and radioimmunoassay (RIA). The results were similar. Interference by other steroids and certain steroid analogue drugs was also studied. The HPLC method yielded no cross-reactivity between the different steroids as may occur with the RIA technique. The HPLC method was technically easy to perform and it allowed us to quantify both cortisol and cortisone in a single serum extract with high specificity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods*
  • Cortisone / blood*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood*
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Spectrophotometry, Ultraviolet


  • Cortisone
  • Hydrocortisone