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Detection of designer steroid methylstenbolone in “nutritional supplement” using gas chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry: Elucidation of its urinary metabolites

DOI: 10.1016/j.steroids.2012.11.009
  • Designer Steroids
  • “Nutritional Supplement”
  • Methylstenbolone
  • Metabolism
  • Gc–Ms/(Ms)
  • Biology
  • Medicine
  • Pharmacology


Abstract The use of “nutritional supplements” containing unapproved substances has become a regular practice in amateur and professional athletes. This represents a dangerous habit for their health once no data about toxicological or pharmacological effects of these supplements are available. Most of them are freely commercialized online and any person can buy them without medical surveillance. Usually, the steroids intentionally added to the “nutritional supplements” are testosterone analogues with some structural modifications. In this study, the analyzed product was bought online and a new anabolic steroid known as methylstenbolone (2,17α-dimethyl-17β-hydroxy-5α-androst-1-en-3-one) was detected, as described on label. Generally, anabolic steroids are extensively metabolized, thus in-depth knowledge of their metabolism is mandatory for doping control purposes. For this reason, a human excretion study was carried out with four volunteers after a single oral dose to determine the urinary metabolites of the steroid. Urine samples were submitted to enzymatic hydrolysis of glucuconjugated metabolites followed by liquid–liquid extraction and analysis of the trimethylsilyl derivatives by gas chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry. Mass spectrometric data allowed the proposal of two plausible metabolites: 2,17α-dimethyl-16ξ,17β-dihydroxy-5α-androst-1-en-3-one (S1), 2,17α-dimethyl-3α,16ξ,17β-trihydroxy-5α-androst-1-ene (S2). Their electron impact mass spectra are compatible with 16-hydroxylated steroids O-TMS derivatives presenting diagnostic ions such as m/z 231 and m/z 218. These metabolites were detectable after one week post administration while unchanged methylstenbolone was only detectable in a brief period of 45h.

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