Phytosterols and anabolic agents versus designer drugs

Phytosterols and anabolic agents versus designer drugs / H.F. De Brabander, K. Verheyden, V. Mortier, B. Le Bizec, W. Verbeke, D. Courtheyn, H. Noppe. - (Analytica Chimica Acta 586 (2007) 1-2 (14 March); p. 49-56)

  • PMID: 17386696
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.aca.2006.07.031


Cholesterol is a well-known component in fats of animal origin and it also is the precursor of natural hormones. Phytosterols appear in plants and only differ slightly in structure from cholesterol. An important difference however is the low absorption in the gut of phytosterols and their saturated derivatives, the phytostanols. As a result, there is time for all kind of reactions in faecal material inside and outside of the gut. Determination of the abuse of natural hormones may be based on gas chromatography-combustion-isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC-C-IRMS). Abuse of natural hormones changes the 13C/12C ratio of some metabolites during a relatively long time. The formation of (natural) hormones in the gut may interfere with this method. Designer drugs are mainly known from sports doping. In animal fattening, designer drugs may be used as well. Small changes in the structure of (natural) hormones may lead to a new group of substances asking for new strategies for their detection and the constatation of their abuse.

Original document


Research / Study
21 July 2006
Courtheyn, D.
De Brabander, Hubert F.
Le Bizec, Bruno
Noppe, Herline
Verbeke, W.
Verheyden, Karolien
Other organisations
École nationale vétérinaire de Nantes (ENVN) - National Veterinary School of Nantes
École nationale vétérinaire, agroalimentaire et de l'alimentation, Nantes-Atlantique (ONIRIS) - Nantes-Atlantic National College of Veterinary Medicine, Food Science and Engineering
Universiteit Gent (UGent) - Ghent University
Analytical aspects
Mass spectrometry analysis
Testing method development
Doping classes
S1. Anabolic Agents
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Scientific article
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Date generated
28 July 2021
Date of last modification
16 August 2021
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