Article

Studies on the in vivo metabolism of the SARM YK11: Identification and characterization of metabolites potentially useful for doping controls

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Abstract

A steroidal compound was recently detected in a seized black market product and was identified as (17α,20E)‐17,20‐[(1‐methoxyethylidene) bis (oxy)]‐3‐oxo‐19‐norpregna‐4,20‐diene‐21‐carboxylic acid methyl ester (YK11). This compound is described to possess selective androgen receptor modulator‐ and myostatin inhibitor‐like properties. As YK11 is an experimental drug candidate and a non‐approved substance for humans, scientific data on its metabolism is scarce. Due to its steroidal backbone and the arguably labile orthoester‐derived moiety positioned at the D‐ring, substantial metabolic conversion in vivo was anticipated. In order to unambiguously detect urinary metabolites of YK11, an elimination study with six‐fold deuterated YK11 was conducted. Post administration specimens were analyzed using hydrogen isotope ratio mass spectrometry coupled to single quadrupole mass spectrometry to identify metabolites alongside basic mass spectrometric data. Further characterization of those metabolites relevant to sports drug testing was accomplished using gas chromatography/high resolution‐high accuracy mass spectrometry. Fourteen deuterated urinary metabolites were detected comprising unconjugated, glucuronidated and sulfoconjugated metabolites. As expected, no intact YK11 was observed in the elimination study urine samples. While the unconjugated metabolites disappeared within 24 h post‐administration, both glucuronidated and sulfated metabolites were traceable for more than 48 h. The chemical structures of the two most promising glucuronidated metabolites (5β‐19‐nor‐pregnane‐3α,17β,20‐triol and 5β‐19‐nor‐pregnane‐3α,17β‐diol‐20‐one) were verified by in‐house synthesis of both metabolites and verified by NMR analysis. In order to elucidate their potential in sports drug testing, both were successfully implemented into the currently applied analytical method for the detection of anabolic agents.

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Carbon isotope ratio (CIR) analysis has been routinely and successfully applied to doping control analysis for many years to uncover the misuse of endogenous steroids such as testosterone. Over the years, several challenges and limitations of this approach became apparent, e.g., the influence of inadequate chromatographic separation on CIR values or the emergence of steroid preparations comprising identical CIRs as endogenous steroids. While the latter has been addressed recently by the implementation of hydrogen isotope ratios (HIR), an improved sample preparation for CIR avoiding co-eluting compounds is presented herein together with newly established reference values of those endogenous steroids being relevant for doping controls. From the fraction of glucuronidated steroids 5β-pregnane-3α,20α-diol, 5α-androst-16-en-3α-ol, 3α-Hydroxy-5β-androstane-11,17-dione, 3α-hydroxy-5α-androstan-17-one (ANDRO), 3α-hydroxy-5β-androstan-17-one (ETIO), 3β-hydroxy-androst-5-en-17-one (DHEA), 5α- and 5β-androstane-3α,17β-diol (5aDIOL and 5bDIOL), 17β-hydroxy-androst-4-en-3-one and 17α-hydroxy-androst-4-en-3-one were included. In addition, sulfate conjugates of ANDRO, ETIO, DHEA, 3β-hydroxy-5α-androstan-17-one plus 17α- and androst-5-ene-3β,17β-diol were considered and analyzed after acidic solvolysis. The results obtained for the reference population encompassing n = 67 males and females confirmed earlier findings regarding factors influencing endogenous CIR. Variations in sample preparation influenced CIR measurements especially for 5aDIOL and 5bDIOL, the most valuable steroidal analytes for the detection of testosterone misuse. Earlier investigations on the HIR of the same reference population enabled the evaluation of combined measurements of CIR and HIR and its usefulness regarding both steroid metabolism studies and doping control analysis. The combination of both stable isotopes would allow for lower reference limits providing the same statistical power and certainty to distinguish between the endo- or exogenous origin of a urinary steroid.
Article
Carbon isotope ratio (CIR) analysis has been routinely and successfully used in sports drug testing for many years to uncover the misuse of endogenous steroids. One limitation of the method is the availability of steroid preparations exhibiting CIRs equal to endogenous steroids. To overcome this problem, hydrogen isotope ratios (HIR) of endogenous urinary steroids were investigated as a potential complement; results obtained from a reference population of 67 individuals are presented herein. An established sample preparation method was modified and improved to enable separate measurements of each analyte of interest where possible. From the fraction of glucuronidated steroids; pregnanediol, 16-androstenol, 11-ketoetiocholanolone, androsterone (A), etiocholanolone (E), dehydroepiandrosterone (D), 5α- and 5β-androstanediol, testosterone and epitestosterone were included. In addition, sulfate conjugates of A, E, D, epiandrosterone and 17α- and 17β-androstenediol were considered and analyzed after acidic solvolysis. The obtained results enabled the calculation of the first reference-population-based thresholds for HIR of urinary steroids that can readily be applied to routine doping control samples. Proof-of-concept was accomplished by investigating urine specimens collected after a single oral application of testosterone-undecanoate. The HIR of most testosterone metabolites were found to be significantly influenced by the exogenous steroid beyond the established threshold values. Additionally, one regular doping control sample with an extraordinary testosterone/epitestosterone ratio of 100 without suspicious CIR was subjected to the complementary methodology of HIR analysis. The HIR data eventually provided evidence for the exogenous origin of urinary testosterone metabolites. Despite further investigations on HIR being advisable to corroborate the presented reference-population-based thresholds, the developed method proved to be a new tool supporting modern sports drug testing procedures. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
The use of anabolic steroids was banned by the International Olympic Committee for the first time at the Olympic Games in Montreal in 1976. Since that time the misuse of anabolic steroids by athletes has been controlled by analysis of urine extracts by gas chromatography—mass spectrometry (GC—MS). The excreted steroids or their metabolites, or both, are isolated from urine by XAD-2 adsorption, enzymatic hydrolysis of conjugated excreted metabolites with β-glucuronidase from Escherichia coli, liquid-liquid extraction with diethyl ether, and converted into trimethylsilyl (TMS) derivatives. The confirmation of an anabolic steroid misuse is based on comparison of the electron impact ionization (EI) mass spectrum and GC retention time of the isolated steroid and/or its metabolite with the EI mass spectrum and GC retention time of authentic reference substances. For this purpose excretion studies with the most common anabolic steroids were performed and the main excreted metabolites were synthesized for bolasterone, boldenone, 4-chlorodehydromethyltestosterone, clostebol, drostanolone, fluoxymesterone, formebolone, mestanolone, mesterolone, metandienone, methandriol, metenolone, methyltestosterone, nandrolone, norethandrolone, oxandrolone and stanozolol. The metabolism of anabolic steroids, the synthesis of their main metabolites, their GC retention and El mass spectra as TMS derivatives are discussed.
Article
The misuse of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) in human sports is controlled by gas chromatography-mass spectrometric analysis of urine specimens obtained from athletes. The analysis is improved with modern high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS). The detection and identification of metabolites of stanozolol (I) [3′-hydroxystanozolol (II) and 4β-hydroxystanozolol (III)] and metandienone (IV) [17β-methyl-5β-androst-1-ene-3α,17α-diol (V) and 18-nor-17,17-dimethyl-5β-androsta-1, 13-dien-3α-ol (VI)] with GC-HRMS at 3000 resolution yielded a large increase in the number of positive specimens. A total of 116 anabolic steroid positives were found in this laboratory in 1995 via GC-MS and GC-HRMS screening of 6700 human urine specimens collected at national and international sporting events and at out-of-competition testing. Of the 116 positive cases, 41 were detected using conventional (quadrupole) GC-MS screening. The other 75 positives were identified via GC-HRMS screening. To confirm the HRMS screening result, the urine sample was reanalyzed using a specific sample workup procedure to selectively isolate the metabolites of the identified substance. II and III were selectively isolated via immunoaffinity chromatography (IAC) using an antibody which was prepared for methyltestosterone and shows high cross reactivity to II and III. V and VI were isolated using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) fractionation.
Article
Zeranol ((7R,11S)-7,15,17-trihydroxy-11-methyl-12-oxabicyclo[12.4.0]octadeca-1(14),15,17-trien-13-one, also referred to as 7α-zearalanol, Ralone®, Frideron®, Ralgro®, etc.) is a semi-synthetic estrogenic veterinary drug with growth-promoting properties. Its use regarding animal husbandry has been prohibited in the European Union since 1981 and, due to its anabolic effects, it is further recognized as a banned substance in sport. Numerous studies were conducted concerning the identification of the illicit application of zeranol to domestic livestock. These studies also considered the natural occurrence of zeranol as a metabolite of the mycotoxin zearalenone and the issue of differentiating both scenarios, i.e. illegal use or unintended contamination. Human sports drug testing authorities are facing comparable challenges since the deliberate misuse of the (for human application non-approved) drug should be discriminated from adverse analytical findings resulting from the biotransformation of the mycotoxin zearalenone possibly ingested with contaminated food. The active drug (zeranol), its major human metabolites (zearalanone, 7β-zearalanol) and the mycotoxin (zearalenone) plus its major and unique metabolic products (α-zearalenol, β-zearalenol) have been monitored in routine doping controls by means of validated gas chromatography-(tandem) mass spectrometry (GC-(MS/)MS) methods since 1996, and between 2005 and 2010 four samples providing suspicious signals were detected. In agreement with literature data, in vitro metabolism studies demonstrated the metabolic pathway from zearalenone towards zeranol (and common metabolites). In contrast, an administration study urine sample (collected after oral application of 20 mg of zeranol) yielded only ultra-trace amounts of zearalenone and its characteristic metabolites, which supported the assumption that a mycotoxin contamination caused the finding of zeranol in the doping control specimens rather than a misuse of the anabolic agent.
Article
Recently, pharmaceutical industry developed a new class of therapeutics called Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator (SARM) to substitute the synthetic anabolic drugs used in medical treatments. Since the beginning of the anti-doping testing in sports in the 1970s, steroids have been the most frequently detected drugs mainly used for their anabolic properties. The major advantage of SARMs is the reduced androgenic activities which are the main source of side effects following anabolic agents' administration. In 2010, the Swiss laboratory for doping analyses reported the first case of SARMs abuse during in-competition testing. The analytical steps leading to this finding are described in this paper. Screening and confirmation results were obtained based on liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) analyses. Additional information regarding the SARM S-4 metabolism was investigated by ultra high-pressure liquid chromatography coupled to quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer (UHPLC-QTOF-MS).
Article
A novel steroid compound, (17α,20E)-17,20-[(1-methoxyethylidene)bis(oxy)]-3-oxo-19-norpregna-4,20-diene-21-carboxylic acid methyl ester (YK11), was found to be a partial agonist of the androgen receptor (AR) in an androgen responsive element (ARE)-luciferase reporter assay. YK11 accelerates nuclear translocation of AR. Furthermore, YK11 does not induce amino/carboxyl-terminal (N/C) interaction and prevents 5-α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT)-mediated N/C interaction. Thus, YK11 activates AR without causing N/C interaction, which may in turn be responsible for the partially agonistic nature of YK11 observed in the ARE-luciferase reporter system. YK11 acts as a gene-selective agonist of AR in MDA-MB 453 cells. The effect of YK11 on gene expression relative to that of androgen agonist varies depending on the gene context. YK11 activated the reporter gene by inducing the translocation of the AR into the nuclear compartment, where its amino-terminal domain (NTD) functions as a constitutive activator of AR target genes. Our results suggest that YK11 might act as selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM).
Article
The application of a comprehensive gas chromatography/combustion/isotope ratio mass spectrometry-based method for the measurement of stable carbon isotopes of endogenous urinary steroids excreted as sulphates is presented. The key element in sample preparation is the consecutive cleanup with high-performance liquid chromatography of underivatized and acetylated steroids, which allows the isolation of seven analytes (pregn-5-ene-3β,17α,20α-triol, etiocholanolone, androsterone, epiandrosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), androst-5-ene-3β,17β-diol and androst-5-ene-3β,17α-diol) from a single urine specimen. These steroids are of particular importance to doping controls as they should enable the sensitive and retrospective detection of DHEA abuse by athletes. Depending on the biological background, the determination limit for all steroids ranges from 5 to 10 ng/mL for a 10 mL specimen. The method is validated by means of linear mixing models for each steroid, which covers the items, repeatability and reproducibility. The specificity was further demonstrated by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry for each analyte, and no influence of the sample preparation or the quantity of analyte on carbon isotope ratios was observed. In order to determine naturally occurring 13C/12C ratios and urinary concentrations of all implemented steroids, a reference population of n = 67 subjects was measured to enable the calculation of reference limits for all relevant steroidal Δ values. The applicability of the developed method was tested by means of a DHEA excretion study. Despite the fact that orally ingested DHEA is preferentially converted into sulphated metabolites and that the renal clearance of sulphated steroids is slow, only the 13C/12C ratio of EpiA demonstrated the potential to prolong the detection time for DHEA misuse. Copyright
Article
After oral administration of metandienone (17 alpha-methyl-androsta-1,4-dien-17 beta-ol-3-one) to male volunteers conjugated metabolites are isolated from urine via XAD-2-adsorption, enzymatic hydrolysis and preparative high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Four conjugated metabolites are identified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS) with electron impact (EI)-ionization after derivatization with N-methyl-N-trimethyl-silyl-trifluoroacetamide/trimethylsilyl-imidazole (MSTFA/TMS-Imi) and comparison with synthesized reference compounds: 17 alpha-methyl-5 beta-androst-1-en-17 beta-ol-3-one (II), 17 alpha-methyl-5 beta-androst-1-ene-3 alpha,17 beta-diol (III), 17 beta-methyl-5 beta-androst-1-ene-3 alpha,17 alpha-diol (IV) and 17 alpha-methyl-5 beta-androstane-3 alpha,17 beta-diol (V). After administration of 40 mg of metandienone four bis-hydroxy-metabolites--6 beta,12-dihydroxy-metandienone (IX), 6 beta,16 beta-dihydroxy-metandienone (X), 6 beta,16 alpha-dihydroxy-metandienone (XI) and 6 beta,16 beta-dihydroxy-17-epimetandienone (XII)--were detected in the unconjugated fraction. The metabolites III, IV and V are excreted in a comparable amount to the unconjugated excreted metabolites 17-epimetandienone (VI), 6 beta-hydroxy-metandienone (VII) and 6 beta-hydroxy-17-epimetandienone (VIII). Whereas the unconjugated excreted metabolites show maximum excretion rates between 4 and 12 h after administration the conjugated metabolites III, IV and V are excreted with maximum rates between 12 and 34 h.
Article
Anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) are misused to a high extent in sports by athletes to improve their physical performance. Sports federations consider the use of these drugs in sports as doping. The misuse of AAS is controlled by detection of the parent AAS (when excreted into urine) and (or) their metabolites in urine of athletes. I present a review of the metabolism of AAS. Testosterone is the principal androgenic steroid and its metabolism is compared with that of AAS. The review is divided into two parts: the general metabolism of AAS, which is separated into phase I and phase II metabolism and includes a systematic discussion of metabolic changes in the steroid molecule according to the regions (A-D rings), and the specific metabolism of AAS, which presents the metabolism of 26 AAS in humans.
Article
The use of anabolic steroids in sports is prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Until the 1990s, anabolic steroids were solely manufactured by pharmaceutical companies, albeit sometimes on demand from national sports agencies as part of their doping program. Recently the list of prohibited anabolic steroids in sports has grown due to the addition of numerous steroids that have been introduced on the market by non-pharmaceutical companies. Moreover, several designer steroids, specifically developed to circumvent doping control, have also been detected. Because anabolic steroids are most often intensively subjected to phase I metabolism and seldom excreted unchanged, excretion studies need to be performed in order to detect their misuse. This review attempts to summarise the results of excretion studies of recent additions to the list of prohibited steroids in sports. Additionally an update and insight on new aspects for "older" steroids with respect to doping control is given.
Article
The application of a comprehensive gas chromatography/combustion/isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC/C/IRMS)-based method for stable carbon isotopes of endogenous urinary steroids is presented. The key element in sample preparation is the consecutive cleanup with high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) of underivatized and acetylated steroids, which allows the isolation of ten analytes (11β-hydroxyandrosterone, 5α-androst-16-en-3β-ol, pregnanediol, androsterone, etiocholanolone, testosterone, epitestosterone, 5α-androstane-3α,17β-diol, 5β-androstane-3α,17β-diol and dehydroepiandrosterone) from a single urine specimen. These steroids are of particular importance to doping controls as they enable the sensitive and retrospective detection of steroid abuse by athletes. Depending on the biological background, the determination limit for all steroids ranges from 5 to 10 ng/mL for a 10 mL specimen. The method is validated by means of linear mixing models for each steroid, which covers repeatability and reproducibility. Specificity was further demonstrated by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) for each analyte, and no influence of the sample preparation or the quantity of analyte on carbon isotope ratios was observed. In order to determine naturally occurring 13C/12C ratios of all implemented steroids, a reference population of n = 61 subjects was measured to enable the calculation of reference limits for all relevant steroidal Δ values. Copyright
Article
Steroid profiling is one of the most versatile and informative screening tools for the detection of steroid abuse in sports drug testing. Concentrations and ratios of various endogenously produced steroidal hormones, their precursors and metabolites including testosterone (T), epitestosterone (E), dihydrotestosterone (DHT), androsterone (And), etiocholanolone (Etio), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), 5alpha-androstane-3alpha,17beta-diol (Adiol), and 5beta-androstane-3alpha,17beta-diol (Bdiol) as well as androstenedione, 6alpha-OH-androstenedione, 5beta-androstane-3alpha,17alpha-diol (17-epi-Bdiol), 5alpha-androstane-3alpha,17alpha-diol (17-epi-Adiol), 3alpha,5-cyclo-5alpha-androstan-6beta-ol-17-one (3alpha,5-cyclo), 5alpha-androstanedione (Adion), and 5beta-androstanedione (Bdion) add up to a steroid profile that is highly sensitive to applications of endogenous as well as synthetic anabolic steroids, masking agents, and bacterial activity. Hence, the knowledge of factors that do influence the steroid profile pattern is a central aspect, and pharmaceutical (application of endogenous steroids and various pharmaceutical preparations), technical (hydrolysis, derivatization, matrix), and biological (bacterial activities, enzyme side activities) issues are reviewed.
20-diene −21-carboxylic acid methyl ester (YK11) is a partial agonist of the androgen receptor
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Kanno Y, Hikosaka R, Zhang SY, et al. (17alpha,20E)-17,20-[(1 methoxyethylidene) bis (oxy)]-3-oxo-19-norpregna-4,20-diene −21-carboxylic acid methyl ester (YK11) is a partial agonist of the androgen receptor. Biol Pharm Bull. 2011;34(3):318-323.
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In vitro metabolism studies of SARM YK-11
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Putz M, Piper T, Schänzer W, Thevis M. In vitro metabolism studies of SARM YK-11. In: Schänzer W, Thevis M, Geyer H, Mareck U, eds. Recent Advances in Doping Analysis (25). Sportverlag Strauß, Köln: Sportverlag Strauß; 2017:91-94.
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