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Ethyl glucuronide in keratinous matrices as biomarker of alcohol use: A correlation study between hair and nails

Cappelle, Delphine; Neels, Hugo; De Keukeleire, Steven; Fransen, Erik; Dom, Geert; Vermassen, Annemie; Covaci, Adrian; Crunelle, Cleo L.; van Nuijs, Alexander L. N.

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PMID: 28892761


To quantify alcohol use, objective, specific and sensitive long-term alcohol markers are necessary. Ethyl glucuronide (EtG), a direct metabolite of alcohol, accumulates in keratinous matrices such as hair and nails, and is a specific and sensitive long-term biomarker for the detection of chronic alcohol consumption. So far, research has primarily focused on the detection of EtG in hair, and studies on its measurement in nails are scarce. In this article, we assessed EtG concentrations in hair, finger- and toenails from the same individuals in order to evaluate the direct correlation between the matrices. To this end, a total amount of 45 hair, 41 fingernail, and 13 toenail samples were collected from patients treated for alcohol use disorders at two psychiatric centers in Belgium. Samples were analyzed by gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Hair EtG concentrations ranged from <LLOQ to 1149pg/mg (median=164pg/mg, IQR [42; 283]). Fingernail EtG concentrations ranged from <LLOQ to 4090pg/mg (median=250pg/mg, IQR [74; 645]). Toenail EtG concentrations ranged from 127 to 3792pg/mg (median=687pg/mg, IQR [379; 1370]). EtG levels in hair and nails were significantly and positively correlated (p-values123pg/mg for chronic excessive alcohol consumption, 59-123pg/mg for moderate alcohol consumption, and

Automatic Tags

Female; Humans; Male; Adolescent; Adult; Young Adult; Aged; Middle Aged; Reference Values; Biomarkers; Alcoholism; Alcohol; Alcohol Drinking; Chromatography, Gas; Glucuronates; Tandem Mass Spectrometry; Hair; Nails; Alcohol Abstinence; Correlation; Ethyl glucuronide; Forensic Toxicology; Keratinous matrices

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