Formation of multimeric steroid metal adducts and implications for isomer mixture separation by traveling wave ion mobility spectrometry

Alana L. Rister, Tiana L. Martin, Eric D. Dodds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Steroid analysis is essential to the fields of medicine and forensics, but such analyses can present some complex analytical challenges. While chromatographic methods require long acquisition times and often provide incomplete separation, ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) as coupled to mass spectrometry (MS) has demonstrated significant promise for the separation of steroids, particularly in concert with metal adduction and multimerization. In this study, traveling wave ion mobility spectrometry (TWIMS) was employed to separate multimer steroid metal adducts of isomers in mixtures. The results show the ability to separate steroid isomers with a decrease in resolution compared with single component standards because of the formation of heteromultimers. Additionally, ion-neutral collision cross sections (CCS) of the species studied were measured in the mixtures and compared with CCSs obtained in single component standards. Good agreement between these values suggests that the CCS may aid in identification of unknowns. Furthermore, a complex mixture composed of five sets of steroid isomers were analyzed, and distinct features for each steroid component were identified. This study further demonstrated the potential of TWIMS-MS methods for the rapid and isomer-specific study of steroids in biological samples for use either in tandem with or without chromatographic separation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)429-436
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Mass Spectrometry
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2019



  • ion mobility spectrometry
  • isomer separation
  • metal ion adduction
  • multimer formation
  • steroids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Spectroscopy

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