Establishment of a library of fragments for the rapid and reliable determination of anabolic steroids by liquid chromatography-quadrupole time of flight-mass spectrometry

  • Do, Jung-Ah ;
  • Noh, Eunyoung ;
  • Yoon, Soon-Byung ;
  • Choi, Hojune ;
  • Baek, Sun-Young ;
  • Park, Sung-Kwan ;
  • Lee, Sang-Gyeong
  • Received : 2016.05.23
  • Accepted : 2016.12.23
  • Published : 2017.02.25


Anabolic steroids have similar structures to testosterone, both of which promote the growth of muscle mass and increase strength. However, the side effects of anabolic steroid use may lead to heart attacks or strokes. Additionally, the excessive use of steroids inhibits the production of the sex hormones in the body via a negative feedback loop, which results in testicular atrophy in males and amenorrhea in females. Currently, the method of choice used to test for the presence of anabolic steroids is GC-MS. However, GC-MS methods require chemical derivatization of the steroid sample to ensure compatibility with the analytical method; therefore, analysis of many different samples is difficult and time consuming. Unlike GC-MS, the liquid chromatography-quadrupole-time of flight mass spectrometry (LC-Q-TOF-MS) method is suitable for many samples. Twenty-two different anabolic steroids were analyzed by LC-Q-TOF-MS with various collision energies (CE). Accurate mass spectral data were obtained using a Q-TOF-MS equipped with an electro-spray ionization source and operated in the positive MS/MS mode for several classes of steroids that are often the targets of testing. Based on the collected data, fragmentation pathways were carefully elucidated. The high selectivity and sensitivity of the LC-Q-TOF-MS instrument combined with these fragmentation pathways offers a new approach for the rapid and accurate screening of anabolic steroids. The obtained data from the 22 different anabolic steroids will be shared with the scientific community in order to establish a library to aid in the screening of illegal anabolic steroids.


LC-Q-TOF-MS;anabolic steroids;fragmentation;library;dietary supplement


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Supported by : Ministry of Food and Drug Safety