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Anal Biochem. 2000 Dec 1;287(1):153-66.

Quantification of neurosteroids in rat plasma and brain following swim stress and allopregnanolone administration using negative chemical ionization gas chromatography/mass spectrometry.

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Department of Neuropharmacology, Scripps Research Institute, 10550 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


A simplified method for the quantitative analysis of neurosteroids in rat plasma and brain is described. The method uses negative chemical ionization gas chromatography/mass spectrometry and involves the synthesis of pentafluorobenzyloxime/trimethylsilyl ether derivatives with excellent chromatographic and electron-capturing properties. Deuterium-labeled analogs of the steroids of interest were synthesized and used as internal standards. The steroids (allopregnanolone, epiallopregnanolone, pregnenolone, testosterone, and dehydroepiandrosterone) were isolated from the plasma or brain matrix by a rapid and straightforward solid-phase extraction procedure. The mass spectrometer was operated in a selective ion monitoring mode, allowing for picograms of neurosteroids to be quantified from biological extracts. The method was linear (typical R(2) = 0.999) over the concentration range (100 to 8000 pg from 0.3 ml plasma and 250 to 8000 pg from 100 mg brain tissue) with good precision and accuracy. In experimental protocols, the procedure was suitable for measuring concentrations of endogenous neurosteroids in rat plasma and brain. Significant elevations (P < 0.001) were observed in the frontal cortex for allopregnanolone and pregnenolone following a swim stress and for allopregnanolone and epiallopregnanolone following allopregnanolone injection (8 mg/kg, sc). The present method allows accurate determination of neurosteroids and will be helpful in elucidating the role of neurosteroids in health and disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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