Detection of nandrolone, testosterone, and their esters in rat and human hair samples

Karin M. Höld, Chad R. Borges, Diana G. Wilkins, Douglas E. Rollins, Robert E. Joseph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Nandrolone and testosterone are anabolic androgenic steroids occasionally abused by athletes. A sensitive, specific, and reproducible gas chromatography-mass spectrometry method for the quantitative determination of nandrolone, testosterone, and their esters in hair has been developed. The limits of quantitation of this method, based on 20 mg of hair, were 50 pg/mg for nandrolone and testosterone, 100 pg/mg for testosterone acetate, and 200 pg/mg for nandrolone-decanoate. Nandrolone-d3 and testosterone-d3 were used as internal standards. This method has been applied to the analysis of these compounds incorporated into rat and human hair. Male Long-Evans rats were given nandrolone decanoate 60 mg/kg intraperitoneally (ip) once daily for 10 days over a time period of 14 days. Two of the three rats contained nandrolone in the pigmented hair collected at day 21 at a concentration of 63 and 76 pg/mg, respectively. No drug was found in the corresponding nonpigmented hair. The rat hair samples that tested positive for nandrolone contained also nandrolone decanoate in concentrations of 0.9 and 1.2 ng/mg, respectively. In a separate experiment rats were given testosterone acetate 10 mg/kg ip once daily for five days. No testosterone or testosterone acetate was detected in the rat hair samples. Hair specimens were also obtained from four self-reported steroid users. The hair of two subjects were determined to be positive for testosterone in concentrations of 54 and 81 pg/mg. These data demonstrate that it is possible to detect the steroids nandrolone, testosterone, and nandrolone decanoate in hair after systemic administration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)416-423
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Analytical Toxicology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Chemical Health and Safety


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