In the present work, human male and female fetal cord blood samples were purified, selectively extracted and separated to examine a fraction of steroids ranging from polar estetrol to relatively non-polar progesterone using solid phase extraction based on C-18 tubes and β-cyclodextrin driven temperature dependent inclusion chromatography. Resulting UV diode array chromatographic patterns revealed the presence of 27 peaks. Chromatographic patterns of UV detected steroids were analyzed using principal components analysis which revealed differences between male/female and labour/not-in-labour clusters. Quantitative analysis of nine identified steroids including: estetrol, 17β-estradiol, estrone, estriol, cortisol, cortisone, progesterone, 20α-hydroxyprogesterone and 17α-hydroxyprogesterone were not significantly different between males and females. Significant differences between male and female fetuses were related to as yet unidentified compounds. Four peaks were significantly different with labour which corresponded with cortisol, cortisone and two unidentified compounds. This protocol may distinguish significant differences between clinical groups that are not readily identifiable using univariate measurements of single steroids or different low molecular mass biomarkers. Moreover, we have provided new evidence that despite the absence of testosterone there are number of steroids and low molecular mass compounds that differ between male and female fetuses.
Journal of Chromatography B: Analytical Technologies in the Biomedical and Life Sciences Vol. 855, Issue 2 , p. 249-254