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Use of non-specific and specific interactions in the analysis of testosterone and related compounds by capillary electromigration techniques

Determination of testosterone and related compounds in body fluids is of utmost importance in doping control and the diagnosis of many diseases. Capillary electromigration techniques are a relatively new approach for steroid research. Owing to their electrical neutrality, however, separation of steroids by capillary electromigration techniques requires the use of charged electrolyte additives that interact with the steroids either specifically or non-specifically. The analysis of testosterone and related steroids by non-specific micellar electrokinetic chromatography (MEKC) was investigated in this study. The partial filling (PF) technique was employed, being suitable for detection by both ultraviolet spectrophotometry (UV) and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS). Efficient, quantitative PF-MEKCUV methods for steroid standards were developed through the use of optimized pseudostationary phases comprising surfactants and cyclodextrins. PF-MEKCUV proved to be a more sensitive, efficient and repeatable method for the steroids than PF-MEKCESI-MS. We discovered that in PF-MEKC analyses of electrically neutral steroids, ESI-MS interfacing sets significant limitations not only on the chemistry affecting the ionization and detection processes, but also on the separation. The new PF-MEKCUV method was successfully employed in the determination of testosterone in male urine samples after microscale immunoaffinity solid-phase extraction (IA-SPE). The IA-SPE method, relying on specific interactions between testosterone and a recombinant anti-testosterone Fab fragment, is the first such method described for testosterone. Finally, new data for interactions between steroids and human and bovine serum albumins were obtained through the use of affinity capillary electrophoresis. A new algorithm for the calculation of association constants between proteins and neutral ligands is introduced.

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