Detection and characterization of urinary metabolites of boldione by LC-MS/MS. Part I: Phase I metabolites excreted free, as glucuronide and sulfate conjugates, and released after alkaline treatment of the urine

Drug Test Anal. 2012 Oct;4(10):775-85. doi: 10.1002/dta.1433. Epub 2012 Oct 22.


Boldione (1,4-androstadien-3,17-dione) is included in the list of prohibited substances, issued by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Endogenous production of low concentrations of boldione has also been reported. The objective of this study was to assess boldione metabolism in humans. Detection of boldione metabolites was accomplished by analysis by liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry of urine samples obtained after administration of the drug and subjected to different sample preparation procedures to analyze the different metabolic fractions (free, glucuronides, sulpfates and released in basic media). In addition to boldione, eight metabolites were detected in the free fraction. Four of them were identified by comparison with standards: 6β-hydroxy-boldenone (M3), androsta-1,4,6-triene-3,17-dione (M5), (5α)-1-androstenedione (M6) and (5α)-1-testosterone (M8). Metabolite M7 was identified as the 5β-isomer of 1-androstenedione, and metabolites M1, M2 and M4 were hydroxylated metabolites and tentative structures were proposed based on mass spectrometric data. After β-glucuronidase hydrolysis, five additional metabolites excreted only as conjugates with glucuronic acid were detected: boldenone, (5β)-1-testosterone (M9), and three metabolites resulting from reduction of the 3-keto group. Boldenone, epiboldenone, and hydroxylated metabolites of boldione, boldenone and 1-testosterone were detected as conjugates with sulfate. In addition, boldione and seven metabolites (boldenone, M2, M3, M4, M5, M7 and M9) increased their concentration in urine after treatment of the urine in alkaline conditions. In summary, 15 boldione metabolites were detected in all fractions. The longer detection time was observed for metabolite M4 after alkaline treatment of the urine, which was detected up to 5 days after boldione administration.

Keywords: LC-MS/MS; anabolic agents; boldione; metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Androstadienes / analysis
  • Androstadienes / metabolism*
  • Androstadienes / urine*
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Glucuronides / analysis
  • Glucuronides / metabolism
  • Glucuronides / urine
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sulfates / analysis
  • Sulfates / metabolism
  • Sulfates / urine
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • Androstadienes
  • Glucuronides
  • Sulfates
  • 1,4-androstadiene-3,17-dione