The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology

Serum and urinary markers of exogenous testosterone administration.

PMID 7577715


In an attempt to find optimal markers of exogenous testosterone (T) administration in male athletes, a number of compounds were measured in 11 healthy men before and after 3, 6 and 9 months of weekly administration of 250 mg i.m. T enanthate and in age-matched untreated controls. The following variables were measured in serum: T, 17 alpha-hydroxyprogesterone (17-OHP), sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), estradiol-17 beta, estrone (free + conjugated) and luteinizing hormone (LH). The following variables were measured in urine: T glucuronide (urinary T), epitestosterone glucuronide (urinary epiT), estrone (free + conjugated) and LH. Serum T, serum T/17-OHP ratio, serum T/LH ratio, serum T/SHBG ratio, serum and urinary estrogens, urinary T/creatinine-, T/epiT- and T/LH ratios increased whereas serum 17-OHP, SHBG and LH and urinary epiT/creatinine- and LH/creatinine-ratios decreased significantly during treatment. Levels above the upper reference limit were found in all subjects at 3, 6 and 9 months for serum T/17-OHP and serum and urinary T/LH ratios and at 6 months for the urinary T/epiT ratio. Levels below the lower reference limit were found in all subjects at 3, 6 and 9 months for serum LH and the urinary LH/creatinine ratio, at 3 months for the urinary epiT/creatinine ratio and at 9 months for serum 17-OHP. No other variable showed abnormal values in all subjects at the same occasion. Despite significant changes during treatment, steroid concentrations as such are poor indicators of T doping. Serum and urinary LH levels, T/LH ratios and serum T/17-OHP ratios seem to be the most reliable markers of exogenous T administration in males.