Determination of acetaldehyde in human blood by a gas chromatographie method with negligible artefactual acetaldehyde formation

Department of Clinical Chemistry, Bispebjerg Hospital, DK-2400 Copenhagen NV Denmark
Clinica Chimica Acta (Impact Factor: 2.82). 11/1981; 116(3):389-395. DOI: 10.1016/0009-8981(81)90058-9


A method is described for determination of acetaldehyde in blood by head space gas chromatography.The method utilizes sodium nitrite-sulfosalicylic acid as an inhibitor of the ethanol oxidizing systems by means of which the interference of ethanol is reduced considerably. The detection limit was 0.4 μmol/l, the recovery 101.5 ± 5.2% and the coefficient of variation was 7.8% (1.5 μmol/l acetaldehyde). There was no disappearance of acetaldehyde if the head space vials were kept at −20°C for 24 h. In the comparison study with the semicarbazide method our results were 0.7–4.1 μmol/l lower. The values for acetaldehyde in blood after ethanol ingestion (0.5 g/kg) by volunteers were 0.5–1.3 μmol/l.

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    ABSTRACT: Determination of acetaldehyde in human blood by the semicarbazide method has been studied. An artefactual production of acetaldehyde from ethanol in blood and plasma of about 20 mumol/l was observed at concentrations of ethanol of about 60 mmol/l. This artefact was reduced to less than 1 mumol/l after addition of thiourea. The presumably non-enzymatic production of acetaldehyde from ethanol was demonstrated by the release of 3H from (1R)-[3H]ethanol added to the blood immediately after sampling. The results demonstrate that oxidation of ethanol is the major cause of the artefactual acetaldehyde formation. In human volunteers, metabolising ethanol, very low concentrations of acetaldehyde were found by the modified method, which includes thiourea.
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