Reference intervals for the urinary steroid metabolome: The impact of sex, age, day and night time on human adult steroidogenesis

Ackermann, Daniel; Grössl, Michael; Pruijm, Menno; Ponte, Belen; Escher, Geneviève; d'Uscio, Claudia Henriette; Guessous, Idris; Ehret, Georg; Pechère-Bertschi, Antoinette; Martin, Pierre-Yves; Burnier, Michel; Dick, Bernhard; Vogt, Bruno; Bochud, Murielle; Rousson, Valentin; Dhayat, Nasser (2019). Reference intervals for the urinary steroid metabolome: The impact of sex, age, day and night time on human adult steroidogenesis. PLoS ONE, 14(3), e0214549. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0214549

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Objective: Urinary steroid metabolomics by GC-MS is an established method in both clinical and research settings to describe steroidogenic disorders. However, population-based reference intervals for adults do not exist.
Methods: We measured daytime and night time urinary excretion of 40 steroid metabolites by GC-MS in 1128 adult participants of European ancestry, aged 18 to 90 years, within a large population-based, multicentric, cross-sectional study. Age and sex-related patterns in adjacent daytime and night time urine collections over 24 hours were modelled for each steroid metabolite by multivariable linear mixed regression. We compared our results with those obtained through a systematic literature review on reference intervals of urinary steroid excretion.
Results: Flexible models were created for all urinary steroid metabolites thereby estimating sex- and age-related changes of the urinary steroid metabolome. Most urinary steroid metabolites showed an age-dependence with the exception of 6β-OH-cortisol, 18-OH-cortisol, and β-cortol. Reference intervals for all metabolites excreted during 24 hours were derived from the 2.5th and 97.5th percentile of modelled reference curves. The excretion rate per period of metabolites predominantly derived from the adrenals was mainly higher during the day than at night and the correlation between day and night time metabolite excretion was highly positive for most androgens and moderately positive for glucocorticoids.
Conclusions: This study gives unprecedented new insights into sex- and age-specificity of the human adult steroid metabolome and provides further information on the day/night variation of urinary steroid hormone excretion. The population-based reference ranges for 40 GC-MS-measured metabolites will facilitate the interpretation of steroid profiles in clinical practice.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Dermatology, Urology, Rheumatology, Nephrology, Osteoporosis (DURN) > Clinic of Nephrology and Hypertension
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > BioMedical Research (DBMR) > Unit Childrens Hospital > Forschungsgruppe Nephrologie / Hypertonie

UniBE Contributor:

Ackermann, Daniel, Grössl, Michael, Escher, Geneviève, d'Uscio, Claudia Henriette, Dick, Bernhard, Vogt, Bruno, Dhayat, Nasser


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Public Library of Science




Nasser Dhayat

Date Deposited:

25 Jun 2019 11:11

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:27

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