• anabolic androgenic steroids;
  • dietary supplements;
  • doping control;
  • 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1);
  • mass spectrometry


Adrenosterone (androst-4-ene-3,11,17-trione, 11-oxoandrostenedione) is an endogenous steroid hormone that has been promoted as a dietary supplement capable of reducing body fat and increasing muscle mass. It is proposed that adrenosterone may function as an inhibitor of the 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 enzyme (11β-HSD1), which is primarily responsible for reactivation of cortisol from cortisone. The urinary metabolism of adrenosterone was investigated, after a single oral administration in two male subjects, by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and gas chromatography-combustion-isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC-C-IRMS). Substantially increased excretion of 11β-hydroxyandrosterone, 11β-hydroxyetiocholanolone, 11-oxoandrosterone and 11-oxoetiocholanolone was observed. Minor metabolites such as 3α,17β-dihydroxy-5β-androstan-11-one, 3α-hydroxyandrost-4-ene-11,17-dione and 3α,11β-dihydroxyandrost-4-en-17-one were also identified. The exogenous origin of the most abundant adrenosterone metabolites was confirmed by GC-C-IRMS according to World Anti-Doping Agency criteria. Through analysis of a reference population data set obtained from urine samples provided by elite athlete volunteers (n = 85), GC-MS doping control screening criteria are proposed:

  • 11β-hydroxyandrosterone concentration greater than 10 000 ng/mL (specific gravity adjusted to 1.020) or

  • 11β-hydroxyandrosterone/11β-hydroxyetiocholanolone ratio greater than 20.

Urine samples fulfilling these screening criteria may be subjected to GC-C-IRMS analysis for confirmation of adrenosterone administration. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.