Measurement of steroid esters in bovine hair samples, using sensitive liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), provides a powerful tool for identifying animals treated illicitly with growth promoters. The successful application of such testing requires appropriate sampling of hair from treated animals. This paper describes the results of hair analysis by LC-MS/MS for two animal studies in which animals were treated with estradiol-3-benzoate and nortestosterone decanoate. The results from the first animal study indicate that animals treated with these anabolic steroids may not always be identified from analysis of hair samples; positive test results occur sporadically and only for some of the treated animals. The results from the second animal study identify conditions attaching to positive hair samples, such as, that concentrations of steroid esters in hair are related to distance of sampling from point of injection and to time post-treatment, that concentrations of steroid esters in hair are related to dose given to the animal but that this relationship may vary over time post-treatment, and that steroid esters may be measured in regrowth hair taken some weeks after treatment. Steroid esters are determined along the length of the hair, confirming that accumulation of steroid esters into hair occurs from various sources, including blood, sweat and sebum. The reported research provides some useful insights into the mechanisms governing the persistence of steroid esters in bovine hair following illicit treatment with growth promoters. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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