Confirming testosterone administration by isotope ratio mass spectrometric analysis of urinary androstanediols

Steroids. 1997 Apr;62(4):379-87. doi: 10.1016/s0039-128x(96)00253-x.


A gas chromatographic combustion isotope ratio mass spectrometric (GC/C/IRMS) method was used for studying the incorporation of exogenous testosterone enanthate into excreted urinary 5 alpha- and 5 beta-androstane-3 alpha, 17 beta-diols. A multistep but straightforward work-up procedure produced a simple GC chromatogram of urinary steroid acetates composed principally of two androstanediols and pregnanediol. It is anticipated that such a method may form the basis of a doping control test for testosterone that could be used as a primary method during major sporting events or alternatively as a verification technique. Urine samples from five individuals were collected before and after administration of testosterone enanthate (250 mg). The delta 13C0/1000 value of andro-stanediols was around -26 to -28 during the baseline period and decreased to about -29 to -30 in the days following synthetic testosterone administration. One of the other major steroids in the chromatogram, pregnanediol, was utilized as the "internal standard," because its delta 13C0/1000 values did not markedly change following testosterone administration, remaining at -25 to -27. In all subjects studied, the delta 13C0/1000 values for androstanediols were reduced sufficiently over 8 days to confirm administration of synthetic testosterone. Although steroids isolated from urine of normal individuals from 12 different countries gave values between -24 and -28, this seemed not to be related to nationality or region. The most likely variable is the proportion of plants with low and high carbon 13 content in the diet. This variable is likely to be more affected by individual food preferences than broad ethnic food divisions. In this paper, we propose a ratio of delta 13C0/1000 for androstanediols to pregnanediol as a useful discriminant of testosterone misuse, a value above 1.1:1.0 being indicative of such misuse. The work-up procedure was designed for batch analysis and to use only simple techniques, rather than employ further instrumentation, such as high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), in purifying steroids for GC/C/IRMS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Androstane-3,17-diol / urine*
  • Asians
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Contraceptive Agents, Male / administration & dosage
  • Contraceptive Agents, Male / pharmacokinetics*
  • Diet
  • Epitestosterone / urine
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Humans
  • Isotopes
  • Male
  • Pregnanediol / urine
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Testosterone / administration & dosage
  • Testosterone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Testosterone / pharmacokinetics


  • Contraceptive Agents, Male
  • Isotopes
  • Androstane-3,17-diol
  • Testosterone
  • Epitestosterone
  • testosterone enanthate
  • Pregnanediol