Analysis of anabolic steroids in human hair using LC-MS/MS

Nawed Deshmukh, Iltaf Hussain, James Barker, Andrea Petroczi, Declan P. Naughton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


New highly sensitive, specific, reliable, reproducible and robust LCMS/MS methods were developed to detect the anabolic steroids, nandrolone and stanozolol, in human hair for the first time. Hair samples from 180 participants (108 males, 72 females, 62% athletes) were screened using ELISA which revealed 16 athletes as positive for stanozolol and 3 for nandrolone. Positive samples were confirmed on LCMS/MS in selective reaction monitoring (SRM) mode. The assays for stanozolol and nandrolone showed good linearity in the range 1400 pg/mg and 5400 pg/mg, respectively. The methods were validated for LLOD, interday precision, intraday precision, specificity, extraction recovery and accuracy. The assays were capable of detecting 0.5 pg stanozolol and 3.0 pg nandrolone per mg of hair, when approximately 20mg of hair were processed. Analysis usingLCMS/MSconfirmed 11 athletes positive for stanozolol (5.0 pg/mg to 86.3 pg/mg) and 1 for nandrolone (14.0 pg/mg) thus avoiding false results from ELISA screening. The results obtained demonstrate the application of these hair analysis methods to detect both steroids at low concentrations, hence reducing the amount of hair required significantly. The new methods complement urinalysis or blood testing and facilitate improved doping testing regimes. Hair analysis benefits from non-invasiveness, negligible risk of infection and facile sample storage and collection, whilst reducing risks of tampering and cross-contamination. Owing to the wide detection window, this approach may also offer an alternative approach for out-of-competition testing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)710-714
Number of pages5
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Anabolic steroids
  • Doping
  • Human hair
  • LC-MS/MS
  • Nandrolone
  • Stanozolol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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