Investigation of the Role of Androstenedione-19-oic Acid in the Presence of 19-Norandrostenedione in Intact Male Horse Plasma Using Liquid Chromatography–Tandem Mass Spectrometry

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A liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry method was developed to confirm the presence of androstenedione-19-oic acid in intact male equine plasma and to show the source of 19-norandrostenedione in equine plasma. Androstenedione-19-oic acid was recovered from acidified plasma by liquid–liquid extraction using methyl tert-butyl ether and separated on an Ace 5 C8 column. A triple quadrupole mass spectrometer was used to detect the analytes in negative electrospray ionization mode. Limits of detection, quantification, and confirmation of the method were 0.1, 0.5, and 1.0 ng/mL, respectively. The linear dynamic range of quantification was 0.5–50 ng/mL. The presence of androstenedione-19-oic acid was confirmed in all plasma samples obtained from intact male horses but not those from gelded and female horses; the average concentration was 3.1 ± 1.6 ng/mL, suggesting androstenedione-19-oic acid is an endogenous compound only in intact male horse plasma samples. The conversion of androstenedione-19-oic acid to 19-norandrostenedione in equine plasma was demonstrated by spiking androstenedione-19-oic acid into blank plasma and monitoring the generation of 19-norandrostenedione and its increase in concentration during storage. Results indicated that androstenedione-19-oic acid was readily converted into 19-norandrostenedione; the higher the storage temperature, the faster the conversion. The conversion was not affected by the types of plasma samples collected from gelded and female horses or by anticoagulants used in blood collection to harvest plasma. Compared with other matrices such as water, methanol, and phosphate-buffered saline, the conversion of androstenedione-19-oic to 19-norandrostenedione in equine plasma was faster, suggesting that there is an unknown factor(s) in equine plasma that enhances the conversion.

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