Comparison of Ethyl Glucuronide and Fatty Acid Ethyl Ester Concentrations in Hair of Alcoholics, Social Drinkers and Teetotalers

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlín, Berlin, Germany
Forensic Science International (Impact Factor: 2.14). 10/2004; 145(2-3):167-73. DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2004.04.032
Source: PubMed


In previous investigations hair analysis for ethyl glucuronide (EtG) and fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEE) proved to be suitable for the detection of excessive alcohol consumption. The aim of this study was to compare EtG and FAEE concentrations in hair of alcoholics, social drinkers and teetotallers. Hair samples from 10 alcoholics in withdrawal treatment, 11 fatalities with documented excessive alcohol consumption, four moderate social drinkers who consumed up to 20 g ethanol per day, and three strict teetotallers were analysed. After external degreasing with n-heptane, extraction with a dimethyl sulfoxide/n-heptane mixture and headspace solid-phase microextraction of the extracts, four fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEEs) (ethyl myristate, ethyl palmitate, ethyl oleate and ethyl stearate) were analysed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) with deuterated internal standards. EtG was determined by GC-MS/NCI after ultrasonication of the samples with H2O, cleanup by SPE with aminopropyl columns and PFP derivatisation. The following concentrations were measured for the four groups: teetotallers EtG < 0.002 ng/mg, FAEE 0.05-0.37 ng/mg, moderate social drinkers EtG < 0.002 ng/mg, FAEE 0.26-0.50 ng/mg, alcoholic patients EtG 0.030-0.415 ng/mg, FAEE 0.65-20.50 ng/mg and the fatalities with alcohol history EtG 0.072-3.380 ng/mg, FAEE 1.30-30.60 ng/mg. The results confirm that by using a cut-off value of the sum of FAEE > 1 ng/mg and/or a positive EtG result in hair, excessive alcohol consumption can be identified using hair analysis. However, no significant correlation between the EtG and FAEE concentrations in the positive cases could be shown. Segmental analysis of some of the specimens did not reveal the same distribution for EtG compared to FAEE in hair, and no chronological accordance compared to the self-reported alcohol consumption could be observed for both parameters. These different results of both methods are discussed in terms of differences between EtG and FAEE in mechanism of formation and incorporation into hair and elimination from hair.

Download full-text


Available from: Volker Auwärter,
  • Source
    • "According to the study performed by Yegles et al . in 2004 , there is no correlation between the concentration of EtG and FAEE in hair , and the authors suggest the different formation sites of both or the different forms of deposition in hair as possible causes , in which they are supported by Pragst et al . and Albermann et al . "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Alcohol is the most popular legal drug used in our society today, and its consumption by pregnant women remains an important public health problem. Gestational alcohol consumption can result in a continuum of adverse fetal outcomes known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Effective strategies are needed to prevent the increasing adoption of risky drinking behaviors. Because ethanol itself is only measurable for a few hours after ethanol intake in conventional matrices including blood, urine, and sweat, these matrices are only useful to detect recent ethanol exposure. Since approximately early 2000, the non-oxidative ethanol metabolites have received increasing attention because of their specificity and, in some cases, wide time window of detection in non-conventional matrices including hair and meconium. In the attempt to update analytical methods for the determination of non-oxidative markers of alcohol, the objective of this study is to review published studies that measure fatty-acid ethyl esters (FAEE), ethyl glucuronide (EtG), and phosphatidylethanol (PEth) in alternative biological matrices, focusing on the extraction and detection methods and full analytical conditions used.
    Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 05/2015; 407(17). DOI:10.1007/s00216-015-8701-7 · 3.44 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "). A few studies showed a correlation between hair EtG levels and amounts of alcohol consumed (Appenzeller et al., 2007; Kerekes et al., 2009; Politi et al., 2006), while other studies found no or modest correlations (Stewart et al., 2013; Yegles et al., 2004). The lack of correlation between hair EtG levels and amounts of alcohol consumed could be explained by several factors, such as by the presence of variables that may influence EtG incorporation in hair (i.e., hair treatments, pathophysiological conditions, or factors underlying alcohol metabolism such as age and gender). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background Ethyl glucuronide (EtG) is a minor alcohol metabolite that accumulates in hair and is proposed as a stable marker for the detection of chronic and excessive alcohol consumption above a cut-off level of 30 pg/mg hair. A correlation between drinking behaviour and EtG hair concentrations is observed, but large variability exists. Aims To investigate the correlation between alcohol consumption and hair EtG concentrations in alcohol dependent patients, and the effect of gender differences as a factor for the variability on this correlation. Methods EtG was measured by gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry in the hairs (first 3 cm) of 36 alcohol dependent patients (25 males/11 females) starting and alcohol detoxification program. Factors that possibly influence EtG content in hair (except age and gender) were excluded. Detailed retrospective alcohol consumption was obtained over the last 3 months using the Timeline Follow Back interview. Results Median total alcohol consumption over 3 months was 13050 g pure alcohol (range 60–650 g/day). Hair EtG concentrations varied between 32 and 662 pg/mg. There was a statistically significant linear and positive correlation between hair EtG and amounts of alcohol consumed (Pearson r = 0.83; p < 0.001), in both males (Pearson r = 0.83; p < 0.001) and females (Pearson r = 0.76; p = 0.007). Conclusions There is a linear correlation, with no significant effect of gender, between hair EtG concentrations and amounts of alcohol consumed in alcohol-dependent individuals. Analysis of EtG in hair can be applied to estimate retrospective alcohol consumption in both male and female alcohol dependent subjects using the same cut-off.
    Drug and Alcohol Dependence 08/2014; 141. DOI:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2014.05.014 · 3.42 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Analysis of EtG in hair is used to corroborate drinking behavior of individuals particularly to assess whether the person is a current alcoholic. The presence of EtG in hair has been studied in newborns [1], teetotallers (alcoholabstaining individuals) [2], social drinkers [2] [3] [4], chronic alcoholics [2] [5] [6], individuals undergoing alcohol detoxification [7], children [3] [4] [8] and cadavers [8] [9]. Although there are some interindividual differences in the concentrations of EtG in hair [10], there is a correlation between concentration and the dose of ethanol administered [10] [11] [12]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Ethyl glucuronide (EtG) quantification in hair was assessed using quality controls prepared by three methods: (a) spiking hair samples with known concentrations of EtG, (b) fortifying hair by incubation of blank hair with EtG for several days or (c) use of authentic hair samples positive for EtG. A liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method was developed on a Shimadzu model 8030 instrument and validated for the quantification of EtG. For two concentration levels, approximately 50 and 500pg/mg QCs, EtG concentrations were measured in duplicate (N=2) on 8 days (N=16) and intra-assay precision (repeatability) and inter-assay precision determined using one-way analysis of variance. EtG concentrations measured in authentic hair exhibited poor intra-assay precision, with coefficients of variation of 25.1 and 20.9%, compared with 17.7 and 18.5% for fortified hair and 17.4 and 11.3% for spiked hair, for the lower and higher concentrations respectively. The inter-assay precision for authentic hair was also poorer, 35.7 and 22.5%, compared with fortified (28.2 and 19.8%) and spiked (18.4 and 13.2%) hair for the lower and higher concentrations. Although spiked QCs resulted in a better repeatability and inter-assay precision, the values obtained for QCs prepared from fortified and authentic hair are likely to be more representative of case specimens. These results have implications on the interpretation of EtG concentrations when spiked QCs are used to validate methods.
    Forensic science international 10/2013; 232(1-3):60-6. DOI:10.1016/j.forsciint.2013.07.003 · 2.14 Impact Factor
Show more