Comparison of ethyl glucuronide and fatty acid ethyl ester concentrations in hair of alcoholics, social drinkers and teetotallers.

Laboratory National de Santé, Toxicologie, CRP-Santé, Université du Luxembourg, Campus Limbertsberg, 162a, Av. de la Faïencerie, L-1511, Luxembourg.
Forensic Science International (Impact Factor: 2.12). 10/2004; 145(2-3):167-73. DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2004.04.032
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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.

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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Prenatal exposure to ethanol can produce a complex set of effects on fetal development, which is denominated fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Early detection of ethanol exposure can allow the prevention of some relevant adverse effects associated to FASD. OBJECTIVES: The aim of this work was to review the main toxic effects of ethanol on the neonate and the available biomarkers of prenatal alcohol exposure. METHODS: A bibliographic search was performed in PubMed employing the terms "effects maternal ethanol exposure" and "biomarkers ethanol prenatal exposure" and cross references. RESULTS: Many adverse effects on fetal development were described, especially deficits in the central nervous system. The biomarkers of ethanol exposure more widely described were fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEEs), ethyl glucuronide (EtG) and ethyl sulphate (EtS), being meconium and hair the most common biological matrices for laboratorial evaluation. DISCUSSION: The early detection of alcohol exposure in intra-uterine life is useful to prevent the secondary effects of FASD through pharmacologic and educational intervention in affected children.
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