Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry analysis of human adrenal vein 19-carbon steroids before and after ACTH stimulation

Juilee Rege, Yasuhiro Nakamura, Fumitoshi Satoh, Ryo Morimoto, Michael R. Kennedy, Lawrence C. Layman, Seijiro Honma, Hironobu Sasano, William E. Rainey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

172 Scopus citations


Context: Abroad analysis of adrenal gland-derived 19-carbon (C 19) steroids has not been reported. This is the first study that uses liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry to quantify 9 C19 steroids (androgens and their precursors), estrone, and estradiol in the adrenal vein (AV) of women, before and after ACTH stimulation. Objective: The objective of this study was to define the adrenal androgen metabolome in women before and after ACTH infusion. Design: This was a retrospective study. Patients: Seven women, aged 50.4±5.4 years, with suspected diagnosis of an adrenal aldosterone-producing adenoma were included in the study. Methods: AV and iliac serum samples were collected before and after administration of ACTH (15 minutes). AV samples were analyzed using for concentrations of 9 unconjugated C19 steroids, estrone, and estradiol. Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) was quantified by radioimmunoassay. Results: AV levels of DHEA-S were the highest among the steroids measured. The most abundant unconjugated C 19 steroids in AV were 11β-hydroxyandrostenedione (11OHA), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and androstenedione (A4). ACTH significantly increased the adrenal output of 9 of the 12 steroids that were measured. ACTH increased the mean AV concentration of DHEA-S by 5-fold, DHEA by 21-fold, A4 by 7-fold, and 11OHA by 5-fold. 11β-Hydroxytestosterone and testosterone were found to be potent androgen receptor agonists when tested with an androgen-responsive cell reporter model. Conclusion: The current study indicates that the adrenal gland secretes primarily 3 weak androgens, namely DHEA, 11OHA, and A4. Active androgens, including testosterone and 11β- hydroxytestosterone, are also produced but to a lesser degree.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1182-1188
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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