An LC-MS/MS analysis for seven sex hormones in serum

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Abstract

Background:

Comprehensive serum sex hormone profiling is essential for monitoring the occurrence and development of many related diseases. However, the current methods for multi-class sex hormone detection were always lack of Standard Reference Material (SRM) certification and suffered from large sample consumption. For improvement, we developed a new liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS) method focused on SRM certification and minimization of serum consumption for simultaneous quantification of seven mainstream serum sex hormones including estrogens (estrone E1, estradiol E2 and estriol E3), androgens (testosterone T, androstenedione AD, dehydroepiandrosterone DHEA) and progestogens (progesterone P).

Methods:

To achieve one-batch analysis, a straightforward strategy was designed and carefully optimized. Schematically, serum was firstly spiked with isotope-labeled internal standards. Then, liquid-liquid extraction was performed with methyl tert-butyl ether. After drying under nitrogen, dansyl chloride was introduced for derivatization. Finally, the mixture was submitted to LC–MS/MS for quantification.

Results:

The limit of quantification was 0.005 ng/mL for E1, E2 and E3, 0.01 ng/mL for T, P and AD, 0.25 ng/mL for DHEA. Inter- and intra-assay CVs were less than 11.8%. The selectivity was proved satisfactory by interference spiking tests. With systematical SRM validation, the mean bias of −5.4 to 4.7% was observed, which indicated excellent method reliability. We found significant positive bias in chemiluminescence immunoassay (CLIA) detection comparing with current method, which promoted us to reconsider our previous results on sex hormone regulation in male patients with coronary atherosclerotic disease. After redetecting the related samples, modified and improved conclusions were proposed.

Conclusions:

A LC–MS/MS method for multi-class serum sex hormone profiling was developed with SRM certification and minimized serum consumption. Taking advantages of such reliable method, the previous CLIA-based research findings on sex hormone regulation in male patients with coronary atherosclerosis were modified and improved after redetecting the same sample-pool.

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