A Generic Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry Exposome Method for the Determination of Xenoestrogens in Biological Matrices

Karin Preindl, Dominik Braun, Georg Aichinger, Sabina Sieri, Mingliang Fang, Doris Marko, Benedikt Warth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We are constantly exposed to a variety of environmental contaminants and hormones, including those mimicking endogenous estrogens. These highly heterogeneous molecules are collectively referred to as xenoestrogens and hold the potential to affect and alter the delicate hormonal balance of the human body. To monitor exposure and investigate potential health implications, comprehensive analytical methods covering all major xenoestrogen classes are needed but not available to date. Herein, we describe a liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method for the simultaneous determination of multiple classes of endogenous as well as exogenous estrogens in human urine, serum, and breast milk to enable proper exposure and risk assessment. In total, 75 analytes were included, whereof a majority was successfully in-house validated in the three matrices. Extraction recoveries of validated analytes ranged from 71% to 110% and limits of quantification from 0.015 to 5 μg/L, 0.03 to 14 μg/L, and 0.03 to 4.6 μg/L in urine, serum, and breast milk, respectively. The applicability of the novel method was demonstrated in proof-of-principle experiments by analyzing urine from Austrian individuals and breast milk from Austrian and Nigerian individuals. Thereby, we proved the methods' feasibility to identify and quantify different classes of xenoestrogens simultaneously. The results illustrate the general importance of multiclass exposure assessment in the context of the exposome paradigm. Specifically, they highlight the need for estimating total estrogenic burden rather than single analyte or chemical class measurements and its potential impact in endocrine disruption and hormone related diseases including cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11334-11342
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - Sep 3 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry

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