Online turbulent flow extraction coupled with liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry for high throughput screening of anabolic steroids in horse urine

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Graphical abstractHighlightsOnline turbulent flow extraction for equine urine was developed for the first time.Target compounds were androgenic anabolic steroids and their metabolites.Detection of analytes was performed using tandem mass spectrometry.This method simplifies the tedious steps of conventional extractions.The analytes were successfully determined in horse urine after drug administration.A high throughput method for simultaneous screening of anabolic steroids and their metabolites (4-esterendione, trenbolone, boldenone, oxandrolone, nandrolone, methandrostenolone, testosterone, 1-androstendione, ethisterone, normethandrolone, methyltestosterone, 16β-Hydroxystanozolol, epitestosterone, bolasterone, norethandrolone, danazol, stanozolol and androstadienone) in equine urine by online turbulent flow extraction coupled with liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry was developed. The use of turbulent flow chromatography could simplify pretreatment of horse urine, which has complex matrices as well as high viscosity. The urine was extracted by mixed-mode cation exchange solid phase extraction, and hydrolyzed using β-glucuronidase/arylsulfatase. Then, the sample was automatically loaded on the TurboFlow Cyclone extraction column for removal of further matrix, followed by separation on a fused core C18 column before MS/MS detection. Optimization and validation of the method were discussed in detail. All analytes were rapidly detected within 10 min with high sensitivity (picogram to nanogram per milliliter level), and no interference was observed. The linearity range was from 0.1–10 ng/mL for nine steroids and 1.0–50 ng/mL for the others, with correlation of coefficient values over 0.995. Precision and accuracy ranged from 0.1 to 14.5% and 1.7 to 12.4%, respectively. The developed method was successfully applied to the analysis of anabolic steroids in horse urine after administration of a model drug.

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