Searching for in silico predicted metabolites and designer modifications of (cortico)steroids in urine by high-resolution liquid chromatography/time-of flight mass spectrometry

R.J.B. Peters, M.C. Engelen, M.E. Touber, C. Georgakopoulus, M.W.F. Nielen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Glucocorticosteroids are a restricted class of substances and appear on the in-competition prohibited list of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Analysis of glucocorticosteroids is complicated since they show significant phase 1 and 2 metabolism in the human body and are excreted into urine in concentrations in the µg/L range. Full scan, high-resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometry analysis generates information on all ionisable components in urine, including known and unknown metabolites of steroids and even designer modifications of anabolic steroids. However, evaluation of the data obtained can be difficult and time-consuming because of the need to differentiate between endogenous components and compounds of interest. MetaboLynxTM, a spectral and chromatographic search program, was modified for the determination of in silico predicted metabolites of glucocorticosteroids and designer modifications of anabolic steroids in human urine. Spiked urine samples were successfully screened for known components in a targeted approach and for unknown species in a non-targeted approach using data filtering to limit potential false-positives. A simplified combined approach of targeted and untargeted screening was used for the detection of metabolites and designer modifications of existing compounds. This approach proved successful and showed its strength in the detection of tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), a designer modification of gestrinone. THG was positively detected in a spiked urine sample and correctly identified as a twofold hydrogenation of gestrinone. The developed screening method can easily be adapted to specific needs and it is envisaged that a similar approach would be amendable to the discovery of metabolites or designer modifications of other compounds of interest
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2329-2337
JournalRapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry
Volume23
Issue number15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Keywords

  • drug discovery
  • steroids
  • glucocorticosteroids
  • tetrahydrogestrinone
  • biotransformation
  • corticosteroids
  • pathways
  • system

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