Steroids excreted in urine by neonates with 21-hydroxylase deficiency. 4. Characterization, using GC–MS and GC–MS/MS, of 11oxo-pregnanes and 11oxo-pregnenes

Tuesday, 26 February, 2013
  • Sofia Christakoudi,
  • David A. Cowan


In 21-hydroxylase deficiency, urinary metabolites of 21-deoxycortisol, mainly derived from its 11oxo form 21-deoxycortisone, are indicators of intra-adrenal overproduction of 17-hydroxyprogesterone. In affected neonates these metabolites are numerous and most have not been previously described. This work forms the concluding part of a comprehensive study of urinary steroids, aiming to enhance the diagnosis of this disorder and to further elucidate steroid metabolism in neonates. Cortisol metabolites found in untreated patients, similarly almost exclusively present in their 11oxo form in neonates, have been included for completeness. Steroids were analyzed, after extraction and enzymatic conjugate hydrolysis, as methyloxime-trimethylsilyl ether derivatives on gas-chromatographs coupled to quadrupole and ion-trap mass-spectrometers. GC-MS and GC-MS/MS spectra were used together to determine the structure of hitherto undescribed 11oxo-pregnane(enes). Few GC-MS features were associated with the presence of the non-derivatizeable 11oxo group in pregnane(ene)s. GC-MS/MS contributed only to the characterization of structures outside the C-ring, as described in the preceding parts of this study. Parallels were found between the metabolism of 21-deoxycortisone and cortisone. The major metabolic pathway was that of classical 3α,5β-reduction with a prominent further hydroxylation, predominantly at C6. Oxidation of the 6-hydroxyl was also common. We conclude that further oxygenated metabolites of 21-deoxycortisone have potential as more reliable markers of 21-hydroxylase deficiency in the early neonatal period, because their levels are higher during that period of life than for the classical marker 11oxo-pregnanetriol.

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Published: 2013 May;78(5):468-75. doi: 10.1016/j.steroids.2013.02.008. Epub 2013 Feb 26.