EVALUATION OF EPIANDROSTERONE AS A LONG-TERM MARKER OF TESTOSTERONE USE

  • Identification and evaluation of long-term markers is crucial in prolonging the detection window for anabolic steroid abuse in sport. Recently, sulfoconjugated epiandrosterone was identified as a potential long-term marker for the abuse of certain endogenous anabolic agents, including testosterone, which continues to be widely used as a performance enhancing agent in sport. To evaluate the applicability of epiandrosterone sulfate as a marker for testosterone use, administration studies were conducted with multiple modes of testosterone administration – transdermal, intramuscular, and subcutaneous.
  • A modified sample preparation method was used to collect both glucuronidated and sulfoconjugated analytes of interest. Carbon isotope ratio measurements from the administration studies are presented here. Epiandrosterone was less effective than the conventionally used target compounds for detection of the low dose application (transdermal gel). With intramuscular administration, epiandrosterone was more diagnostic than with transdermal administration, but it did not prolong the detection window more than the conventional target compounds.
  • With subcutaneous administration, the doses administered to the subjects were varied and the effect in the epiandrosterone values was dependent on the magnitude of the dose administered. Epiandrosterone does not appear to be a useful marker in the detection of low dose testosterone administration. It is responsive to higher dose administration, but it does not provide extension of the detection window relative to conventional target compounds.

Development and validation of a fast gas chromatography combustion isotope ratio mass spectrometry method for the detection of epiandrosterone sulfate in urine.

In doping control, to confirm the exogenous origin of exogenously administered anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS), a gas chromatography combustion isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC-C-IRMS) analysis is performed. Recently published work suggests epiandrosterone sulfate (EpiAS) as a promising IRMS target compound for the detection of AAS, capable of prolonging the detection window. However, EpiAS is only excreted in urine in its sulfoconjugated form while all other IRMS target compounds are excreted glucuronidated, meaning that EpiAS cannot be incorporated in the existing IRMS methods.
A separate extensive sample preparation needs to be performed on this compound with a different hydrolysis and extraction procedure and a different liquid chromatography (LC) clean-up. The current work presents a new, fast and easy to implement EpiAS IRMS method. The approach was based on the direct GC analysis of non-hydrolysed EpiAS, making the solid phase extraction, hydrolysis and acetylation step redundant.
Sample preparation consisted of a simple liquid liquid extraction, followed by LC fraction collection. A population study was performed to check the compliance with the criteria drafted by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). To verify the applicability of the developed approach, the method was applied to the samples of four administration studies (i.e., dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), testosterone gel (T gel), androstenedione (ADION) and intramuscular testosterone undecanoate. In contrast to previously published data, the strength of EpiAS as target compound and the prolongation of the detection window in comparison with the conventional IRMS target compounds was less pronounced.

Synthesis and bioevaluation of novel steroidal isatin conjugates derived from epiandrosterone/androsterone.

Steroids are classes of natural products widely distributed in nature, which have been demonstrated to exhibit broad biological functions, and have also attracted increasing interest from bioorganic and pharmaceutical researches. In order to develop novel chemical entities as potential cytotoxic agents, a series of steroidal isatin conjugations derived from epiandrosterone and androsterone were efficiently prepared and characterized, and all these obtained compounds were screened for their potential cytotoxic activities.
The preliminary bioassay indicated that most of the newly synthesized compounds exhibited good cytotoxic activities against human gastric cancer (SGC-7901), melanoma (A875), and hepatocellular liver carcinoma (HepG2) cell lines compared with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), which might be considered as promising scaffold for further development of potential anticancer agents.

The quantitation of 7beta-hydroxy-epiandrosterone in the plasma and seminal plasma of men with different degrees of fertility.

7beta-hydroxy-epiandrosterone (7beta-OH-EpiA) is an endogenous androgen metabolite that has been shown to exert neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory and anti-estrogenic effects. However, to the best of our knowledge no information is available about this androgen steroid in relation to sperm quality. We analyzed 7beta-OH-EpiA in plasma and seminal plasma using a newly developed isotope dilution ultra-high performance liquid chromatography – mass spectrometry method. Validation met the requirements of FDA guidelines. Levels of 7beta-OH-EpiA were measured in 191 men with different degrees of infertility. One-way analysis of variance followed by multiple comparison and correlation analysis adjusted for age, BMI and abstinence time were performed to evaluate the relationships between this steroid and sperm quality.
Concentrations of 7beta-OH-EpiA in seminal plasma were significantly higher in severely infertile men in comparison with healthy men and slightly infertile men. The same trend was found when blood plasma was evaluated. Furthermore, plasma 7beta-OH-EpiA negatively correlated with sperm concentration (-0.215; p<0.01) and total count (-0.15; p<0.05). Seminal 7beta-OH-EpiA was negatively associated with motility (-0.26; p<0.01), progressively motile spermatozoa (-0.233; p<0.01) and nonprogressively motile spermatozoa (-0.188; p<0.05). 7beta-OH-EpiA is associated with lower sperm quality and deserves more research in that respect.

Epiandrosterone sulfate prolongs the detectability of testosterone, 4-androstenedione, and dihydrotestosterone misuse by means of carbon isotope ratio mass spectrometry.

In the course of investigations into the metabolism of testosterone (T) by means of deuterated T and hydrogen isotope ratio mass spectrometry, a pronounced influence of the oral administration of T on sulfoconjugated steroid metabolites was observed. Especially in case of epiandrosterone sulfate (EPIA_S), the contribution of exogenous T to the urinary metabolite was traceable up to 8 days after a single oral dose of 40 mg of T. These findings initiated follow-up studies on the capability of EPIA_S to extend the detection of T and T analogue misuse by carbon isotope ratio (CIR) mass spectrometry in sports drug testing. Excretion study urine samples obtained after transdermal application of T and after oral administration of 4-androstenedione, dihydrotestosterone, and EPIA were investigated regarding urinary concentrations and CIR.
With each administered steroid, EPIA_S was significantly depleted and prolonged the detectability when compared to routinely used steroidal target compounds by a factor of 2 to 5. In order to simplify the sample preparation procedure for sulfoconjugated compounds, enzymatic cleavage by Pseudomonas aeruginosa arylsulfatase was tested and implemented into CIR measurements for the first time. Further simplification was achieved by employing multidimensional gas chromatography to ensure the required peak purity for CIR determinations, instead of sample purification strategies using liquid chromatographic fractionation. Taking into account these results that demonstrate the unique and broad applicability of EPIA_S for the detection of illicit administrations of T or T-related steroids, careful consideration of how this steroid can be implemented into routine doping control analysis appears warranted.

An omics investigation into chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain reveals epiandrosterone sulfate as a potential biomarker.

Chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain (CWP) is common, having a population prevalence of 10%. This study aimed to define the biological basis of the CWP/body mass association by using a systems biology approach. Adult female twins (n = 2444) from the TwinsUK registry who had extensive clinical, anthropometric, and “omic” data were included. Nontargeted metabolomics screening including 324 metabolites was carried out for CWP and body composition using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. The biological basis of these associations was explored through a genome-wide association study and replicated in an independent population sample (Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg [KORA] study, n = 2483). A causal role for the genetic variants identified was sought in CWP using a Mendelian randomisation study design.
Fat mass/height2 was the body composition variable most strongly associated with CWP (TwinsUK: P = 2.4 × 10(-15) and KORA: P = 1.59 × 10(-10)). Of 324 metabolites examined, epiandrosterone sulfate (EAS) was highly associated with both CWP (P = 1.05 × 10(-09) in TwinsUK and P = 3.70 × 10(-06) in KORA) and fat mass/height2. Genome-wide association study of EAS identified imputed single nucleotide polymorphism rs1581492 at 7q22.1 to be strikingly associated with EAS levels (P ≤ 2.49 × 10(-78)), and this result was replicated in KORA (P = 2.12 × 10(-9)). Mendelian randomization by rs1581492 genotype showed that EAS is unlikely to be causally related to CWP. Using an agnostic omics approach to focus on the association of CWP with body mass index, we have confirmed a steroid hormone association and identified a genetic variant upstream of the CYP genes, which likely controls this response. This study suggests that steroid hormone abnormalities result from pain rather than causing it, and EAS may provide a biomarker that identifies subgroups at risk of CWP.

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An omics investigation into chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain reveals epiandrosterone sulfate as a potential biomarker.

Chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain (CWP) is common, having a population prevalence of 10%. This study aimed to define the biological basis of the CWP/body mass association by using a systems biology approach. Adult female twins (n = 2444) from the TwinsUK registry who had extensive clinical, anthropometric, and “omic” data were included. Nontargeted metabolomics screening including 324 metabolites was carried out for CWP and body composition using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. The biological basis of these associations was explored through a genome-wide association study and replicated in an independent population sample (Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg [KORA] study, n = 2483). A causal role for the genetic variants identified was sought in CWP using a Mendelian randomisation study design.
Fat mass/height2 was the body composition variable most strongly associated with CWP (TwinsUK: P = 2.4 × 10(-15) and KORA: P = 1.59 × 10(-10)). Of 324 metabolites examined, epiandrosterone sulfate (EAS) was highly associated with both CWP (P = 1.05 × 10(-09) in TwinsUK and P = 3.70 × 10(-06) in KORA) and fat mass/height2. Genome-wide association study of EAS identified imputed single nucleotide polymorphism rs1581492 at 7q22.1 to be strikingly associated with EAS levels (P ≤ 2.49 × 10(-78)), and this result was replicated in KORA (P = 2.12 × 10(-9)). Mendelian randomization by rs1581492 genotype showed that EAS is unlikely to be causally related to CWP. Using an agnostic omics approach to focus on the association of CWP with body mass index, we have confirmed a steroid hormone association and identified a genetic variant upstream of the CYP genes, which likely controls this response. This study suggests that steroid hormone abnormalities result from pain rather than causing it, and EAS may provide a biomarker that identifies subgroups at risk of CWP.