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J Steroid Biochem. 1987 Nov;28(5):565-9.

Isolation and identification of androstanediol glucuronide from human plasma.

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  • 1Department of Organic Chemistry, Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, San Antonio, TX 78284.


[3H]Dihydrotestosterone (50 microCi) was infused into normal men and women for 8 h. It was previously shown that this was sufficient time for this material to reach a steady state. Venous plasma was obtained at 6 and 8 h, pooled, and the unconjugated steroids removed by ether extraction. The remaining plasma was adjusted to pH 4.9 and the steroid conjugate was extracted first with ethyl acetate and then with an ether-ethanol mixture. The extracts were combined and taken to dryness. Steroid sulfates were solvolyzed using dioxane, and the mixture partitioned between ether and 1% NaOH. The aqueous phase was acidified and added to an XAD-2 column, washed with water, and the glucuronide fraction eluted with methanol. The solvent was concentrated and the methanol extract was passed through a C18 Sep-Pak, filtered through an Acrodisc CR and then subjected to gradient high performance liquid chromatography [HPLC] (Nova-Pak C18, KH2PO4, pH 3, and methanol). The fractions containing steroid glucuronides were collected and esterified with diazomethane and then acetylated with acetic anhydride in pyridine. The glucuronide triacetyl methyl ester (GAME) derivatives were then run in a second HPLC system (3 Lichrosorb 5 mu columns, 4 mm x 25 cm) using a gradient of ethanol-heptane and heptane. We clearly established that this system separates 3 alpha-diol GAME conjugated at the 17 and 3 positions (44 vs 50 min) with authentic samples previously synthesized in our laboratory. We concluded that the pooled plasma contained only the 17-GAME conjugate. No significant activity of the 3-glucuronide was detected. The natural compound in circulation, therefore, is 5 alpha-androstane-3 alpha, 17 beta-diol 17-glucuronide.

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