Simultaneous Determination of Total Cortisol and Cortisone in Human Plasma by Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry: Method Development, Validation and Preliminary Clinical Application

Author(s): Martin Kertys*, Anna Urbanova, Michal Mestanik, Ingrid Tonhajzerova, Juraj Mokry

Journal Name: Current Pharmaceutical Analysis

Volume 15 , Issue 4 , 2019

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Graphical Abstract:


Background: Cortisol as a major glucocorticosteroid product of the adrenal cortex which has been recognized as a stress biomarker in evaluating stress related disorders for a long time. Plasma concentration of cortisol and its metabolite cortisone are usually changed in physiological and psychological tension, anxiety and depression. In order to study these changes properly, we need a sensitive, accurate and reproducible assay for plasma cortisol and cortisone determination.

Objective: The aim of this study was to develop a sensitive and robust method for the determination of total cortisol and cortisone in human plasma using mass spectrometry.

Methods: A fast, sensitive and selective liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LCMS/ MS) method was developed, validated, and then the levels of cortisol and cortisone were determined. Plasma samples cleanup procedure was composed of two steps: the first was a protein precipitation with 1 % formic acid in acetonitrile, and the second was an on-line solid phase extraction (SPE). Afterwards, cortisol and cortisone were separated using a C18 ACQUITY UPLC BEHTM column with a gradient elution. The mobile phase A was 0.1 % formic acid in water, the mobile phase B was 0.1 % methanol. For the detection we used a XEVO TQ-S mass spectrometer operating in the ESI positive mode.

Results: The time of analysis was 6.5 minutes and the quantification range was 5-600 ng/mL for cortisol and cortisone, with > 94% recovery for all analytes (cortisol, cortisone and internal standards). The method was validated according to the EMA guideline for bioanalytical method validation.

Conclusion: A simple and sensitive LC-MS/MS method was developed and validated for measurement of cortisol and cortisone in human plasma. Our findings indicate that the proposed analytical method is suitable for routine analysis.

Keywords: Cortisol, cortisone, liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, human plasma, stress.

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Article Details

Year: 2019
Published on: 19 March, 2019
Page: [363 - 370]
Pages: 8
DOI: 10.2174/1573412914666180427094811
Price: $65

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