▸ Detection of androstenedione doping was investigated in this study. ▸ Ingestion of androstenedione resulted in changes in steroid profile and δ13C-values. ▸ Etio/An ratio and 5β-diol concentration could be used to initiate IRMS analysis. ▸ Etio could be detected more effectively than An in IRMS analysis.
Androstenedione (4-androstene-3,17-dione) is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as an endogenous steroid. The official method to confirm androstenedione abuse is isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS). According to the guidance published by WADA, atypical steroid profiles are required to trigger IRMS analysis. However, in some situations, steroid profile parameters are not effective enough to suspect the misuse of endogenous steroids. The aim of this study was to investigate the atypical steroid profile induced by androstenedione administration and the detection of androstenedione doping using IRMS. Ingestion of androstenedione resulted in changes in urinary steroid profile, including increased concentrations of androsterone (An), etiocholanolone (Etio), 5α-androstane-3α,17β-diol (5α-diol), and 5β-androstane-3α,17β-diol (5β-diol) in all of the subjects. Nevertheless, the testosterone/epitestosterone (T/E) ratio was elevated only in some of the subjects. The rapid increases in the concentrations of An and Etio, as well as in T/E ratio for some subjects could provide indicators for initiating IRMS analysis only for a short time period, 2–22 h post-administration. However, IRMS could provide positive determinations for up to 55 h post-administration. This study demonstrated that, 5β-diol concentration or Etio/An ratio could be utilized as useful indicators for initiating IRMS analysis during 2–36 h post-administration. Lastly, Etio, with slower clearance, could be more effectively used than An for the confirmation of androstenedione doping using IRMS.