Markers of chronic alcohol use in hair: comparison of ethyl glucuronide and cocaethylene in cocaine users. Forensic Sci Int

Department of Legal Medicine & Public Health, University of Pavia, Via Forlanini 12, I-27100 Pavia, Italy.
Forensic science international (Impact Factor: 2.14). 11/2007; 172(1):23-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2006.11.007
Source: PubMed


Two direct ethanol metabolites, namely ethyl glucuronide (EtG) and cocaethylene (CE), in the hair of cocaine (COC) users were compared in this study. Hair samples (n=68) were submitted to the determination of EtG (by liquid chromatography-electrospray-tandem mass spectrometry) and of COC and metabolites, including CE (by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry). Quantitative and qualitative results were compared. No quantitative correlation was found between EtG and CE, as well as between EtG and the cocaethylene concentration divided by the concentration of COC and its metabolites (benzoylecgonine and ecgonine methylester, as COC equivalents). Nevertheless, many factors are supposed to affect the amount of the two substances incorporated in the hair matrix, such as the subject's habits in ethanol and COC use, genetic variability in the metabolism of both substances, and the different chemical and physical properties of EtG and CE. When establishing a cut-off of 4 pg/mg for EtG and of 200 pg/mg for CE, 47 samples tested positive for EtG and 41 samples tested positive for CE; 12 samples out of the 47 EtG-positives tested negative for CE (25%), whereas 6 samples out of the 41 CE-positives tested negative for EtG (15%). According to these data, EtG appears to be a more sensitive and specific marker of non-moderate alcohol users than CE.

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    • "Both, ethyl sulfate (EtS) and ethyl glucuronide (EtG) are conjugated non-oxidative ethanol metabolites detectable in urine and serum during and for some dose dependant time after ethanol degradation. These direct markers have been used for monitoring abstinence from alcohol in workplace monitoring programs [1], during methadone treatment [2], in pregnant women [3], in cases of driving under the influence of alcohol [4] [5] and have been detected in other body liquids and tissues such as organs and hair [6] [7] [8] [9] and even in dried blood spots [10]. Several groups have studied the excretion of EtG and EtS in urine [11] [12] [13] [14] [15], and also the timedependence of EtG and EtS concentrations in serum or blood after uptake of medium amounts of alcohol (in drinking studies) or in forensic cases [16] [17] [18] [19]. "
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    ABSTRACT: For 12 volunteers of a drinking experiment the concentration-time-courses of ethyl sulfate (EtS) and ethanol were simulated and fitted to the experimental data. The concentration-time-courses were described with the same mathematical model as previously used for ethyl glucuronide (EtG). The kinetic model based on the following assumptions and simplifications: a velocity constant k(form) for the first order formation of ethyl sulfate from ethanol and an exponential elimination constant k(el). The mean values (and standard deviations) obtained for k(form) and k(el) were 0.00052 h(-1) (0.00014) and 0.561 h(-1) (0.131), respectively. Using the ranges of these parameters it is possible to calculate minimum and maximum serum concentrations of EtS based on stated ethanol doses and drinking times. The comparison of calculated and measured concentrations can prove the plausibility of alleged ethanol consumption and add evidence to the retrospective calculation of ethanol concentrations based on EtG concentrations.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2009 · Forensic science international
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    • "Alcohol has traditionally been considered a serious public health problem because of several physical, mental and social problems associated with its abuse, as it exerts an enormous toll on the lives and communities of many nations (Politi et al., 2006). In fact, the Spanish 2005 National Report, presented to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, has shown that alcohol is by far the most widely consumed psychoactive substance of abuse by the Spanish population. "
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    ABSTRACT: Alcohol is the most frequently abused 'addictive substance' that causes serious social problems throughout the world; thus alcoholism is of particular interest in clinical and forensic medicine. Ethyl glucuronide (EtG) is a marker of recent alcohol consumption that detects alcohol use reliably over a definite time period. The present paper describes a new method for the determination of EtG in urine. It was based both on microwave assisted extraction (MAE) to extract the analyte from urine samples, and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to identify and quantify the EtG in selected ion monitoring (SIM) mode. The method was applied to 33 urine samples from alcohol users, obtaining positive results in all cases. It was fully validated including a linear range (0.1-100 microg ml(-1)) and the main precision parameters. In summary, the use of microwave assisted extraction turned out to be a substantially simpler, faster and more sensitive procedure than any other conventional sample preparations.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2008 · Journal of Applied Toxicology
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    • "/mg for oxycodone 2 pg/μL for MAM 3 pg/μL for MOR and 5 pg/μL for COD 0.5 ng/10 mg References Politi et al. (2007) De Giovanni et al. (2007) Appenzeller et al. (2007) Paul et al. (2007) Cognard et al. (2005) Bermejo et al. (2006) Cristoni et al. (2007) Moore et al. (2007a) Moeller and Mueller (1995) Jones et al. (2002) Acampora et al. (2003) Hill et al. (2005) "
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    ABSTRACT: The use of alternative specimens in the field of toxicology was first described in 1979, when hair analysis was used to document chronic drug exposure. Since then, the use of these 'alternative' samples has gained tremendous importance in forensic toxicology, as well as in clinic toxicology, doping control and workplace drug testing. It is not surprising, therefore, that a large number of papers dealing with the determination of several classes of drugs in saliva, sweat, meconium and hair have been published ever since, owing to the fact that chromatographic equipment is becoming more and more sensitive, mass spectrometry (and tandem mass spectrometry) being the most widely used analytical tool, combined with gas or liquid chromatography. 'Alternative' specimens present a number of advantages over the 'traditional' samples normally used in toxicology (e.g. blood, urine and tissues), namely the fact that their collection is not invasive, their adulteration is difficult, and they may allow increased windows of detection for certain drugs. The main disadvantage of this kind of samples is that drugs are present in very low concentrations, and therefore high-sensitivity techniques are required to accomplish the analysis. This paper reviews a series of publications on the use of alternative specimens, with special focus on the main analytical and chromatographic problems that these samples present, as well on their advantages and disadvantages over traditional samples in documenting drug exposure.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2008 · Biomedical Chromatography
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