Determination of the glucocorticoids prednisone, prednisolone, dexamethasone, and cortisol in human serum using liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry

J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2004 Apr 5;802(2):329-38. doi: 10.1016/j.jchromb.2003.12.015.


Glucocorticoids are an important component of immunosuppressive therapy for solid organ transplantation. A method to quantitate prednisone, prednisolone, dexamethasone and cortisol in human serum has been developed. Analysis is performed utilizing reversed-phase liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry. The method was validated to a lower limit of quantitation of 5.4 ng/ml for prednisone and cortisol, and 10.7 ng/ml for dexamethasone and prednisolone, with error below 7% at the lower limits. The between-day relative standard deviations ranged 2.9-7.1%. Comparison of cortisol analysis to an established method using clinical samples yielded differences below 15% for 26 of 28 determinations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Calibration
  • Dexamethasone / blood*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood*
  • Prednisolone / blood*
  • Prednisone / blood*
  • Reference Standards
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Dexamethasone
  • Prednisolone
  • Prednisone
  • Hydrocortisone