Quantitative-Profiling Method of Serum Steroid Hormones by Hydroxylamine-Derivatization HPLC–MS

Research paper by Qi Liu, Quan Chi, Ru-Ting Fan, Hui-Dong Tian, Xian Wang

Indexed on: 28 Jun '19Published on: 09 Apr '19Published in: Natural Products and Bioprospecting


A sensitive and rapid high performance liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (HPLC–MS) method was developed and validated for simultaneous quantification of ten steroid hormones, including estrogens, androgens, progesterones, and corticosteroids four classes of steroids. The following ten steroid hormones were analyzed: progesterone, 21-deoxycortisol, estrone, 4-androstenedione, testosterone, dihydro-testosterone, androstenone, dehydroepiandrosterone, corticosterone and cortisone. Stable deuterated isotopes were used as internal standards for quantification. Sample preparation with and without derivatization were performed after liquid–liquid extraction, and the corresponding results were compared according to sensitivity and selectivity. Hydroxylamine derivatization was found to improve the ionization efficiency of the analytes for electrospray ionization MS analysis. The gradient of mobile phase and experimental parameters for HPLC separation were optimized. The lower limits of quantification were in the range of 0.05–5 ng mL−1 with wide linear range for the ten steroid hormones. The intra-day precision < 11.1% and recovery of 84.5–120% with negligible matrix effect were achieved, where within the acceptance limits of the FDA guideline. Total HPLC–MS analysis time was 6 min. This method enables simultaneous quantification of steroids in human serum. It will be helpful for the serum steroid profiling in order to understand various endocrinology diseases.

Graphical abstract 10.1007/s13659-019-0204-3.png