BackgroundNeuroactive steroids seem to be implicated in a variety of neurophysiological and behavioral processes, such as sleep, learning, memory, stress, feeding and aging. Numerous studies have also addressed this implication in various cerebral disorders and diseases. Yet, the correlation and association between steroids in the periphery, e.g. blood, and the central compartments, e.g. cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), have not yet been comprehensively assessed. As the brain is not directly accessible, and the collection of human CSF usually requires invasive procedures, easier accessible compartments, such as blood, have always attracted attention. However, studies in humans are scarce. In the present study we determined estradiol, progesterone and testosterone levels in CSF and serum of 22 males without cerebral disorders or diseases.ResultsSamples were taken under conditions corresponding closest to basal conditions with patients expecting only spinal anesthesia and minor surgery. All samples per patient were collected concomitantly. Total estradiol, progesterone and testosterone concentrations were measured by electro-chemiluminescence immunoassay. The strength of correlation was assessed by Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient. Correlation analysis revealed merely weak to very weak correlations for estradiol, progesterone and testosterone respectively between the CSF and serum compartments.ConclusionsTotal steroid levels of estradiol, progesterone and testosterone in CSF and serum of males without neurological disorders were determined. Weak to very weak correlations between CSF and serum were found thus suggesting that concentrations in the periphery do not parallel concentrations in the central compartments. Further research is needed to clarify to what extent and under which conditions serum levels of estradiol, progesterone and testosterone may possibly serve as a biomarker reflecting the respective concentrations in the CSF or in the brain.