Analysis of Corticosteroids

  • Robert Fraser
  • D. B. Gower
  • John W. Honour
  • Mary C. Ingram
  • Andrew T. Kicman
  • Hugh L. J. Makin
  • Paul M. StewartEmail author


The adrenal cortex is the source of a number of steroid hormones that play a fundamental role in regulating body metabolism. The elucidation of the complicated biosynthetic pathways and the metabolic fate of these hormones proceeded relatively slowly until it became possible to make reliable measurements of the concentrations of these important steroids in body tissues. Because of the complex structure of the steroids, their close chemical similarity to each other and their occurrence in low concentrations in body tissues, the development of suitable analytical techniques proved a major challenge to chemists and biochemists working in this field. Although many of these problems still exist, there has been significant progress in the clinical field, particularly because of the availability of radiolabelled and stable isotope-labelled steroids and the introduction of immunoassay (IA) methods for routine clinical biochemical analysis. The advent of highly selective separatory chromatographic methods (LC and GC) increasingly linked to mass spectrometers means that analytical methods are now available for all of the important adrenal cortical hormones, their major precursors and metabolites, and synthetic glucocorticoids. These methods have found wide application, especially in clinical research and investigation, where they have been used to elucidate the nature of many endocrine disease processes, and for diagnosis and treatment. These facts in themselves highlight the importance to the analyst of ensuring that the techniques used are as reliable as possible.



The authors of this chapter acknowledge with gratitude the work of Professor Vivian James, who was one of the authors of this chapter in the first edition of this book. The original chapter has formed the base on which this revised chapter has been written. DBG is most grateful to Mrs. D.M. Gower for her help in preparing part of the manuscript and all the authors thank other colleagues and publishers, who readily gave permission for reproduction of copyright material.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Fraser
    • 1
  • D. B. Gower
    • 2
  • John W. Honour
    • 3
  • Mary C. Ingram
    • 1
  • Andrew T. Kicman
    • 2
  • Hugh L. J. Makin
    • 4
  • Paul M. Stewart
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.MRC Blood Pressure Group, BHF Glasgow Cardiovascular Research CentreUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK
  2. 2.Department of Forensic Science and Drug Monitoring (Drug Control Centre) Division of Pharmaceutical ScienceKings College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Department of Clinical BiochemistryUniversity College London HospitalsLondonUK
  4. 4.Barts and the LondonQueen Mary School of Medicine and DentistryLondonUK
  5. 5.Department of MedicineUniversity of Birmingham, Queen Elizabeth HospitalBirminghamUK

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