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Determination of stanozolol and 3-hydroxystanozolol in rat hair, urine and serum using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry

Nawed IK Deshmukh1, Gergely Zachar2, Andrea Petróczi3, Andrea D Székely2, James Barker1* and Declan P Naughton3

Author Affiliations

1 School of Pharmacy and Chemistry, Kingston University, Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, KT1 2EE, UK

2 Department of Anatomy, Histology and Embryology, Semmelweis University, Budapest IX, Tüzoltó utca 58, H-1450, Hungary

3 School of Life Sciences, Kingston University, London, UK

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Chemistry Central Journal 2012, 6:162  doi:10.1186/1752-153X-6-162

Published: 22 December 2012



Anabolic androgenic steroids, such as stanozolol, are typically misused by athletes during preparation for competition. Out-of-competition testing presents a unique challenge in the current anti-doping detection system owing to logistic reasons. Analysing hair for the presence of a prohibited drug offers a feasible solution for covering the wider window in out-of-competition testing. To assist in vivo studies aiming to establish a relationship between drug levels detected in hair, urine and blood, sensitive methods for the determination of stanozolol and its major metabolite 3-hydroxystanozolol were developed in pigmented hair, urine and serum, using brown Norway rats as a model system and liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS).


For method development, spiked drug free rat hair, blood and urine samples were used. The newly developed method was then applied to hair, urine and serum samples from five brown Norway rats after treatment (intraperitoneal) with stanozolol for six consecutive days at 5.0 mg/kg/day. The assay for each matrix was linear within the quantification range with determination coefficient (r2) values above 0.995. The respective assay was capable of detecting 0.125 pg/mg stanozolol and 0.25 pg/mg 3-hydroxystanozolol with 50 mg hair; 0.063 ng/mL stanozolol and 0.125 ng/mL 3-hydroxystanozolol with 100 μL of urine or serum. The accuracy, precision and extraction recoveries of the assays were satisfactory for the detection of both compounds in all three matrices. The average concentrations of stanozolol and 3-hydroxystanozolol, were as follows: hair = 70.18 ± 22.32 pg/mg and 13.01 ± 3.43 pg/mg; urine = 4.34 ± 6.54 ng/mL and 9.39 ± 7.42 ng/mL; serum = 7.75 ± 3.58 ng/mL and 7.16 ± 1.97 ng/mL, respectively.


The developed methods are sensitive, specific and reproducible for the determination of stanozolol and 3-hydroxystanozolol in rat hair, urine and serum. These methods can be used for in vivo studies further investigating stanozolol metabolism, but also could be extended for doping testing. Owing to the complementary nature of these tests, with urine and serum giving information on recent drug use and hair providing retrospective information on habitual use, it is suggested that blood or urine tests could accompany hair analysis and thus avoid false doping results.

Anabolic androgenic steroid; Doping; Hair analysis; Urinalysis; Serum analysis; LC-MS/MS