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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 6

of 'Measurement of cortisol in serum and saliva'

A radioreceptor assay for evaluation of the plasma glucocorticoid activity of natural and synthetic steroids in man.
Ballard PL, Carter JP, Graham BS, Baxter JD
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1975;41(2):290.
An assay for plasma glucocorticoid activity has been developed using specific glucocorticoid receptors. Unlike other assays for cortisol and certain synthetic corticosteroids, this radioreceptor assay measures the glucocorticoid activity of all natural an synthetic steroids. Steroids extracted from as little as 0.05 ml of plasma are incubated with 3H-dexamethasone and cytosol receptors from cultured rat hepatome cells. From 0.5 to 50 ng of cortisol are accurately detected. Glucocorticoid activities of adult determined by the assay correlate closely with corticoid levels obtained in the CBG-isotope and fluorometric assays. Other steroids are measured in proportion to both concentration and potency as glucocorticoids. Relative activities include: cortisol 100, dexamethasone 940, prednisolone 230, prednisone 3, estradiol 1 and androstenedione 1. A similar ranking of steroids was found using receptors from a human source (fetal lung). The assay has been useful in detecting glucocorticoid activity in unidentified medications and in measuring plasma glucocorticoid levels after administration of synthetic corticosteroids. A modification of the assay is described for also estimating the level of free (unbound) glucocorticoid activity in plasma. Assays are performed before and after removal by charcoal of steroids not bound to plasma transcortin. This consideration is shown to be particularly important with prednisolone where the unbound steroid level is much less than the total. Thus, the radioreceptor assay provides a relatively simple technique for measuring the total of free plasma of glucocorticoid activity in man due to any natural or synthetic steroid or combination of steroids.