Salivary testosterone in female-to-male transgender adolescents during treatment with intra-muscular injectable testosterone esters

Hong N. Bui, Sebastian E. E. Schagen, Daniel T. Klink, Henriette A. Delemarre-van de Waal, Marinus A. Blankenstein, Annemieke C. Heijboer

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18 Citations (Scopus)


In our hospital, female-to-male (FtM) transgender adolescents from the age of 16 are treated with two- or four-weekly intra-muscular injections of testosterone-esters. Some patients treated with four-weekly injections have complaints of fatigue and experience mood swings towards the end of the inter-injection period, which calls for an evaluation of the time-course of testosterone levels between injections. Evaluation of salivary testosterone is a practical approach for sequential measurements. Since only ∼2% of total serum testosterone is present in saliva, a sensitive assay is necessary. The objective was to develop an isotope dilution-liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method (ID-LC-MS/MS) for salivary testosterone measurements and to evaluate the testosterone profiles after testosterone-ester mixture injections in FtM-adolescents. FtM treated with 125 mg/2 weeks or with 250 mg/4 weeks depots of testosterone-ester mixture collected saliva at different time intervals. Salivary testosterone was measured by a thoroughly validated ID-LC-MS/MS assay. An ID-LC-MS/MS method for measuring salivary testosterone was developed with adequate accuracy and specificity. The reference range was established at 135-400 pmol/L. Testosterone levels peaked supra-physiologically immediately post-injection, and decreased to levels within the male reference range after nine days in all patients. 250 mg/4 weeks depots resulted in values below the reference range at the end of the 4 weeks. The development of an adequate ID-LC-MS/MS method for measuring salivary testosterone allowed us to investigate the testosterone profile in FtM-adolescents after testosterone-esters mixture injections. These injections lead to extreme concentrations which may affect the wellbeing of the patients
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-95
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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