Cortisol and cortisone analysis in serum and plasma by atmospheric pressure photoionization tandem mass spectrometry

Mark M. Kushnir, Rebecca Neilson, William L. Roberts, Alan L. Rockwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Objectives: Cortisol metabolism is controlled by 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11β-HSD) isoenzymes, which interconvert cortisol and cortisone. Accurate measurement of the cortisol and cortisone concentrations and their ratio provide useful information about 11β-HSD activity. Methods: Cortisol and cortisone were extracted with methyl-tert-butyl ether from 100 μl of serum or plasma. The extract was evaporated, reconstituted with mobile phase, and analyzed by tandem mass spectrometry using a photoionization interface. The transitions monitored were: m/z 363 to 121 and 363 to 97 for cortisol, 361 to 163 and 361 to 105 for cortisone. Results: Within-run and between-run coefficients of variation were less than 6% and 12%; 14% and 22%; 11% and 21% for cortisol, cortisone, and their ratio, respectively. The limit of detection was 1 μg/l for cortisol and 5 μg/l for cortisone. Normal ranges for cortisol and cortisone concentration and for their ratio in plasma (n = 120) determined as the central 95% were 33-246 μg/l for cortisol, 8-27 μg/l for cortisone, and 0.081-0.301 for the cortisone/cortisol ratio. Conclusions: We developed a simple sensitive method for cortisol and cortisone analysis in plasma and serum that uses a small sample volume. The method is very specific, fast, does not have any known interference, and is useful for diagnosis of variety of disease and pathologic conditions. © 2004 The Canadian Society of Clinical Chemists. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-362
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Biochemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2023-09-20

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry


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