Anabolic steroids are the most frequently detected prohibited substances in
sports. Analysis for these substances is routinely
performed using gas
mass spectrometry (GCMS) and liquid chromatography
mass spectrometry (LC
MS). Although the detection capabilities of LC
limited for the detection of steroids with androstanediol as a back bone to
MS is often more sensitive for many other steroids.
Moreover, recently several publications have shown that LC
MS can detect
steroids (glucuronides) directly in urine without any sample preparation.
The advantages for such a direct urinalysis are multi
fold. It reduces costs,
required volume of sample and analysis time, but also it allows for the direct
detection of intact conjugated steroids rather than the liberated steroid
molecules after hydrolysis.
In the past several small scale attempts have bee
n made to detect these
intact steroid conjugates in urine. These attempts were quite successful, but
did not meet WADA’s minimum required performance limits. Recently
however several scientific improvements have been made, including more
nts, optimized mobile phase compositions (e.g. methanol
instead of acetonitrile), which now allow for the detection of several steroids
well below WADA’s MRPL. These preliminary results (e.g. 19
glucuronide) show that the direct urinalysis
of steroid conjugates at
concentrations at or below the MRPL is achievable.