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J Chromatogr Sci. 2013 May-Jun;51(5):436-45. doi: 10.1093/chromsci/bms160. Epub 2012 Oct 5.

Detection of clenbuterol at trace levels in doping analysis using different gas chromatographic-mass spectrometric techniques.

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National Anti-doping Laboratory, China Anti-Doping Agency, 1st Anding Road, ChaoYang District, Beijing 100029, P. R. China.


This study demonstrates the development of a gas chromatography-triple quadrupole tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS-MS) assay to detect clenbuterol in human urine and the comparison of this method with GC-MS techniques and gas chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry (GC-HRMS) techniques. Urine samples were hydrolyzed with β-glucuronidase, extracted with methyl tert-butyl ether and dried under nitrogen. The derivative reagent was N-methyl-N-(trimethylsilyl)-trifluoroacetamide with NH4I and was analyzed by GC-MS, GC-MS-MS and GC-HRMS. A validation study was conducted by GC-MS-MS. The analyses of clenbuterol using different mass spectrometric techniques were compared. The limit of detection (LOD) for clenbuterol in human urine was 2 ng/mL by GC-MS (selected ion monitoring mode: SIM mode), 0.06 ng/mL by GC-HRMS and 0.03 ng/mL by GC-MS-MS, respectively, while the LOD by GC-HRMS was 0.06. With GC-MS-MS, the intra-assay and inter-assay precisions were less than 15%, the recoveries were 86 to 112% and the linear range was 0.06 to 8.0 ng/mL. The GC-MS under SIM mode can be used as a screening tool to detect clenbuterol at trace levels in human urine. The GC-MS-MS and GC-HRMS methods can confirm clenbuterol when its concentration is below 2 ng/mL. The results demonstrate that the GC-MS-MS method is quite sensitive, specific and reliable for the detection of clenbuterol in doping analysis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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