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J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2010 Aug;121(3-5):496-504. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2010.04.010. Epub 2010 Apr 22.

Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) remains a pre-eminent discovery tool in clinical steroid investigations even in the era of fast liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS).

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1
Centre for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, School for Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom. n.p.krone@bham.ac.uk

Abstract

Liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) is replacing classical methods for steroid hormone analysis. It requires small sample volumes and has given rise to improved specificity and short analysis times. Its growth has been fueled by criticism of the validity of steroid analysis by older techniques, testosterone measurements being a prime example. While this approach is the gold-standard for measurement of individual steroids, and panels of such compounds, LC/MS/MS is of limited use in defining novel metabolomes. GC/MS, in contrast, is unsuited to rapid high-sensitivity analysis of specific compounds, but remains the most powerful discovery tool for defining steroid disorder metabolomes. Since the 1930s almost all inborn errors in steroidogenesis have been first defined through their urinary steroid excretion. In the last 30 years, this has been exclusively carried out by GC/MS and has defined conditions such as AME syndrome, glucocorticoid remediable aldosteronism (GRA) and Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome. Our recent foci have been on P450 oxidoreductase deficiency (ORD) and apparent cortisone reductase deficiency (ACRD). In contrast to LC/MS/MS methodology, a particular benefit of GC/MS is its non-selective nature; a scanned run will contain every steroid excreted, providing an integrated picture of an individual's metabolome. The "Achilles heel" of clinical GC/MS profiling may be data presentation. There is lack of familiarity with the multiple hormone metabolites excreted and diagnostic data are difficult for endocrinologists to comprehend. While several conditions are defined by the absolute concentration of steroid metabolites, many are readily diagnosed by ratios between steroid metabolites (precursor metabolite/product metabolite). Our work has led us to develop a simplified graphical representation of quantitative urinary steroid hormone profiles and diagnostic ratios.

PMID:
20417277
PMCID:
PMC2941839
DOI:
10.1016/j.jsbmb.2010.04.010
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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